Theresa May Asks the EU to Delay Brexit Past March Deadline

British Prime Minister Theresa May gets into a vehicle at Downing Street, as she faces a vote on Brexit, in London, England, March 13, 2019. (Henry Nicholls/REUTERS)

British prime minister Theresa May announced Wednesday that she has asked the European Union to allow for a delay in Brexit past the previously established March 29 deadline.

After repeatedly vowing to carry out by March 29 the British electorate’s preference to depart the EU, May conceded that the date was too ambitious given Parliament’s refusal to endorse the plan she painstakingly negotiated with Brussels. May stipulated, however, that she was “not prepared to delay Brexit any further” than June 30.

Speaking from Downing Street on Wednesday evening, May said it was a “matter of great personal regret” that she was forced to ask European Council president Donald Tusk to delay Britain’s departure, but placed blame for the delay squarely on Parliament.

“Of this, I am absolutely sure: You the public have had enough. You are tired of the infighting, you’re tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rows, tired of MPs talking about nothing else but Brexit when you have real concerns about our children’s schools, our National Health Service, knife crime,” she said. “You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side. It is now time for MPs to decide.”

Tusk, speaking in Brussels, said the departure “should be possible” but maintained that the delay could not be used as a pretext to renegotiate the deal May secured months ago. That deal has now been voted down by Parliament on two occasions. May will put the deal up for a third vote after traveling to Brussels to negotiate an extension.

“If that vote is passed, the extension will give the House time to consider the Withdrawal Agreement bill. If not, the House will have to decide how to proceed,” May told Parliament.

Jeremy Corbyn, who leads the opposition Labour party, called the parliamentary gridlock and resulting delay a “full-scale national crisis” while addressing Parliament on Wednesday.

“Incompetence, failure and intransigence from the prime minister have brought us to this point,” he said.

Most Popular

White House

Another Warning Sign

The Mueller report is of course about Russian interference in the 2016 election and about the White House's interference in the resulting investigation. But I couldn’t help also reading the report as a window into the manner of administration that characterizes the Trump era, and therefore as another warning ... Read More

Supreme Court Mulls Citizenship Question for Census

Washington -- The oral arguments the Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday will be more decorous than the gusts of judicial testiness that blew the case up to the nation’s highest tribunal. The case, which raises arcane questions of administrative law but could have widely radiating political and policy ... Read More
Film & TV

Jesus Is Not the Joker

Actors love to think they can play anything, but the job of any half-decent filmmaker is to tell them when they’re not right for a part. If the Rock wants to play Kurt Cobain, try to talk him out of it. Adam Sandler as King Lear is not a great match. And then there’s Joaquin Phoenix. He’s playing Jesus ... Read More