France warns that it could block UK's Brexit extension request

France has said that it will not approve an extension of Brexit until May 30 unless Theresa May can show a credible strategy.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday wrote to the EU to formally request that Brexit is delayed until May 30.

But any such request must be passed by the European Council, and France appears to be taking a tough line.

"A situation in which Mrs May is unable to deliver sufficient guarantees on the credibility of her strategy at the European Council meeting would lead to the request being refused and a preference for a no deal," Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the French parliament.

(The full text of Theresa May's letter to the EU, requesting an extension to the Brexit deadline; Photo: AFP)

Le Drian said an extension to the March 29 deadline would only be granted if May agreed to three conditions.

First, that any extension only be given to approve an exit deal negotiated by May and the other 27 European Union members, which has twice been rejected
by British MPs.

Secondly, that May not seek to renegotiate the deal.

And thirdly that Britain not participate in elections for the European Parliament which are scheduled for May 23-26.

The remarks upped the pressure on the British prime minister ahead of a meeting of European leaders in Brussels which begins Thursday where Brexit is
set to top the agenda.

European Council President Donald Tusk said on Wednesday evening that the short extension May was requesting would be possible – but only if her deal is passed in the British Parliament.

British MPs have already rejected the deal twice and May has told British media that she intends to hold a new vote in parliament on her deal "as soon as possible".

This comes after John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, ruled that she could not hold a third vote of her deal this week, under a rule about repeated votes on the same topic.

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