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21 MAR

What happens if EU blocks Brexit delay?

by Metro

The nation waited with baited breath tonight as Theresa May took to the lectern to deliver an eleventh hour speech, following yet another tense day of Brexit debates.

It came after the prime minister wrote to the EU to request a three-month delay to Brexit, changing the official leave date from March 29 to June 30.

Council president Donald Tusk said he would allow it, but only if MPs back Mays Withdrawal Agreement – something which has been overwhelmingly voted down two times.

Prime Minister Theresa May making a statement about Brexit in Downing Street, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 20, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Theresa May spoke tonight outside Downing Street to say she wants to get on with Brexit (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA)

Today in PMQs May hinted that she could resign if Brexit is delayed any further than the end of June, while Jeremy Corbyn called for a general election.

Despite the chaos, the prime minister addressed the nation tonight to reassure that she plans to get on with it – referring to the UKs departure from the EU – as soon as possible.

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But what exactly does getting on with it mean now?

The next step will be for May to travel to Brussels for a European Council summit tomorrow, where she will pitch her proposals for the three-month extension of Article 50.

She is expected to address leaders of the other 27 EU states, before leaving them for around three hours to discuss their decision on the matter.

TOPSHOT - An anti-Brexit activist holds a placard as he demonstrates outside the Houses of Parliament in London on March 12, 2019, ahead of the debate leading to the second meaningful vote on the government's Brexit deal. - Britain faces a moment of truth Tuesday when parliament votes on Prime Minister Theresa May's ill-loved Brexit plan -- a day after she said she secured last-minute changes to the deal from the EU. May huddled late Monday with EU leaders in Strasbourg in a bid to salvage the vision of Brexit she set out after coming to power nearly three years ago. The two sides then announced "legally binding changes" to the old agreement aimed at addressing Britain's needs and getting the deal through parliament. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP)NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images
A march calling for a second referendum will be held on Saturday (Picture: Niklas Hallen/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Demonstrators protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London on February 27, 2019. - Prime Minister Theresa May will today face a vote by MPs over her newly revised Brexit strategy, which allows for a possible request to delay Britain's EU departure if her divorce deal is not approved. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
No-deal is a possibility if an extension is not permitted (Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)

Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker are likely to announce the outcome in a joint press conference, ahead of a dinner planned for all leaders.

The European Council president stated earlier that the extension all hangs in May getting her deal through Parliament next week in a unanimous decision.

If the extension is rejected, a no-deal scenario will be triggered, which means the UK will crash out of the EU without an agreement on March 29.

The prime minister has already accepted that she has run out of time to complete the necessary legislation by the original Brexit deadline, leaving her the option of revoking Article 50 and staying in the EU, or accepting the no-deal departure.

Intense talks among MPs are expected to continue on Saturday, while thousands are predicted to march in the Put It To The People rally in central London, calling for a second referendum.

TOPSHOT - European Council President Donald Tusk makes a statement with Ireland's prime minister following a meeting on February 6, 2019, at the European Council headquarters in Brussels. (Photo by Aris Oikonomou / AFP)ARIS OIKONOMOU/AFP/Getty Images
European Council President Donald Tusk said he would allow an extension of MPs back Mays deal (Picture: Aris Oikonomou/AFP/Getty Images)
European flags and a British Union flag placed by anti-Brexit remain in the European Union supporters are blown by the wind across the street from the Houses of Parliament, not pictured, backdropped by Westminster Abbey in London, Monday, March 18, 2019. British Prime Minister Theresa May was making a last-minute push Monday to win support for her European Union divorce deal, warning opponents that failure to approve it would mean a long ??? and possibly indefinite ??? delay to Brexit. Parliament has rejected the agreement twice, but May aims to try a third time this week if she can persuade enough lawmakers to change their minds. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
The next nine days in UK Parliament are expected to be eventful (Picture: Matt Dunham/AP)

On Monday, the Government must table an amendable motion, following the defeat of the second meaningful vote last week, with MPs using the opportunity to promote their personal preferences.

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These could range from a no-deal Brexit to a close Norway-style relationship with the EU, a longer postponement, or a second referendum.

Between Monday March 25 and Friday March 29 the prime minister is expected to put her Withdrawal Agreement to Parliament in a third meaningful vote – but only if Speaker John Bercow accepts that her deal is different from the last two defeated votes in January and March.

If the Agreement gets through at the third attempt, the European Council is likely to confirm the offer of a Brexit delay, allowing the UK to complete the process of ratifying the treaty and getting legislation in place for an exit in May or June.

If the deal is rejected for a third time, there will be intense pressure on the EU27 to allow an extension nonetheless, in a bid to avoid a no-deal scenario.

Next Thursday has been pencilled in as a possible date for an extraordinary European Council summit to find a last-minute solution if no agreement has been reached among UK MPs.

TOPSHOT - Pro-Brexit activists march outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on February 27, 2019. - Prime Minister Theresa May will today face a vote by MPs over her newly revised Brexit strategy, which allows for a possible request to delay Britain's EU departure if her divorce deal is not approved. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP)TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images
If an extension is granted the UK will leave the EU by June 30 (Picture: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)

If no extension has been offered and no agreement approved by MPs, the UK will leave the EU without a deal at 11pm on March 29, with the potential for nation-wide destruction.

Leave Means Leave marchers demanding a no-deal Brexit are also due to arrive in London after a two-week walk from Sunderland.

If the prime ministers plan has worked, the period between March 30 and June 30 will see the UK pass the necessary legislation for an orderly withdrawal from the EU.

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If Brussels has delivered an extension but Mays deal has been rejected by UK MPs, there will be furious debate in Westminster on the way forward.

A pro-Brexit supporter wearing a Union Jack patterned suit in Westminster, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 12, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
An 18-month transition period would follow after the exit date (Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA)

European Parliament elections will take place May 23 to 26 and Brussels says that no further extension to Article 50 will be allowed if the UK has not taken part in the vote.

Under Mays plans, the UK would leave the European Union by June 30 and enter an 18-month transition period lasting to December 31 2020, during which it would observe EU rules but have no representation in Brussels institutions.

Intensive talks would take place in this period on the future trade and security relationship between the UK and EU, with the hope of finalising a deal before the end of 2020.

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