Britain’s May in Berlin to plead case for new Brexit delay

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A senior German official demanded "substantial steps" forward in Britain's Brexit standoff and insisted on Tuesday that any further delay to Britain's withdrawal must come with strict conditions, as Prime Minister Theresa May prepared to plead for more time in Berlin and Paris.

Theresa May held last-ditch talks with Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron ahead of tomorrow's European Union summit as she pleaded with them for a short Brexit delay.

On Monday night, MPs and peers backed a new law to extend the Brexit process and cross-party talks are expected to continue in the hope of finding a compromise. Those negotiations are ongoing.

But there are "always good reasons in such hard and highly charged situations in Britain and the European Union 27 to first talk to each other before the first deadline", he said.

Under pressure to find majority support for her deal to leave the European bloc, May had to set out future plans to the EU this week, under the terms given by the bloc for the first Brexit extension which is set to end on April 12.

Mrs May will report back to MPs on the Brussels summit and seek approval for a revised extension date.

In the first instance a no deal Brexit is still the default position in law and unless there is some sort of intervention by the U.K. Government, Britain will leave the European Union on 12 April.

The Cooper/Letwin bill reduced the risk of a no deal Brexit substantially, and took power out of May's hands.

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On the eve of an emergency EU summit in Brussels, chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc was ready to grand a delay, but that the duration "has got to be in line with the objective of any such extension".

Mrs May has asked for the date of Brexit to be delayed until June 30 at Wednesday's summit, with the possibility of an earlier departure if the UK's withdrawal deal is ratified.

I believe we should also discuss an alternative, longer extension.

But there were signs of resistance in Mrs May's Cabinet to compromise with Labour, with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox warning that a customs union would leave the United Kingdom "stuck in the worst of both worlds".

May had requested only a short delay to avoid having to take part in European Parliament elections, which are scheduled for May 26, but a longer postponement would mean Britain participating.

"Both houses of parliament have tonight strongly made clear their view that a no deal would be deeply damaging to jobs, manufacturing and security of our country", Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who helped propose the legislation, said.

"Decisiveness and unanimity is essential at the European Council summit of government leaders", stressed Seibert. Discussions with Jeremy Corbyn do not appear to be making any progress with minister Dr Liam Fox warning Mrs May that the customs union with the EU Labour is demanding would be the "worst of both worlds" and EU leaders are growing exhausted of repeated extension requests.

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