UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday requested approval from the European Union to delay Britain’s exit from the bloc until June 30, as fears of a no-deal Brexit grow ahead of the deadline next week.
European Commission President Donald Tusk said of the request that such a delay would be possible, but there was one caveat.
“In the light of the consultations that I have conducted over the past days, I believe that a short extension will be possible, but it will be conditional on a positive vote on the withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons,” Tusk said during an address to the media in Brussels.
Even if the hope for final success may seem frail, even illusory, and although Brexit fatigue is increasingly visible and justified, we cannot give up seeking – until the very last moment – a positive solution. #euco
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) March 20, 2019
The UK Parliament has twice decisively voted down Brexit agreements negotiated between May’s government and the EU. Most recently, the Speaker of the House, John Bercow, refused to allow a third vote on the deal, citing parliamentary rules.
Tusk’s comments come after a French official reportedly said on Tuesday that Paris would not approve a delay just to buy time. Any vote by France to allow a delay would have to include a commitment by the British Parliament to agree to terms or allow a second referendum to reverse the decision to exit the EU.
In order for a delay to be approved, all 27 EU member states would have to sign on.
After May’s request and the conditions laid out by Tusk, the fog of uncertainty blanketing London persisted on Wednesday ahead of the deadline little more than a week away.