Downing Street officials have declined to rule out Theresa May resigning as PM in the event of her deal not being ratified by the EU by June 30 and a longer Brexit delay being implemented.
Earlier on Wednesday during PMQs, May announced that she had written to the EU to request a short, three-month extension to Article 50, insisting that she was not prepared to “delay Brexit any further than June 30.”
Asked to clarify the PM’s position on the length of a delay to Brexit, a spokesman for May refused on four separate occasions to deny that she intended to quit if the deal had not been given the green light by then.
May’s spokesman told reporters: “She doesn’t believe a long extension is the right thing to do.” On whether it would be right to infer the PM could resign within weeks, her spokesman claimed: “What you should infer is her determination to get this over the line.”
The PM will meet with leaders of the UK opposition parties on Wednesday evening to discuss extending Article 50.
It comes as French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian warned May’s government that they will only agree to granting an extension to Article 50 on the condition she can give guarantees that her Brexit deal will be passed by UK MPs, Reuters reports.
If May cannot offer guarantees her Brexit deal will be passed in British parliament, the European Council will turn down her extension request.
Donald Tusk, the president of the EU Council, released a statement on Wednesday afternoon, claiming that a short extension was “possible,” but conditional on UK MPs voting in favor of the deal next week in parliament.
Earlier, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the EU Commission, reaffirmed Brussels’ position on a possible extension to Article 50. He insisted that a deal needed to be signed off between the UK and EU before European Parliament elections on May 23.
Junker claims this is necessary, otherwise the UK has to participate in those elections. It means that the British PM runs the risk of the EU only granting a short extension until May 22.
May is scheduled to travel to Brussels for an EU summit on Thursday in a bid to secure vital changes to her agreement which can command the support of a majority of MPs and avoid the UK exiting the EU on March 29 without a deal.
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