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Brexit WARNING: May could delay Brexit until 2020 - 'Cap in hand!'

Brexit WARNING: May could delay Brexit until 2020 - 'Cap in hand!'

The result was a compromise on the date, with a deadline of Oct 31, for Britain to leave - on condition that Mrs May holds an election on May 23 to return British members to a new European Parliament that convenes in July, and that it pledge not to disrupt key EU decision-making before it leaves.

A Kent MP has called for Operation Brock to be lifted as soon as possible after the news that the government has been given another six months to reach a Brexit deal.

The contingency operations have impacted almost all departments in the civil service and elsewhere in the public sector including traffic, hospitals and schools.

May said she was still pursuing an orderly departure from the European Union, insisting there was still time for MPs to agree a deal to avoid Britain taking part in the European Union elections.

Irish premier Leo Varadkar has said that Britain should have "a say" in future trade if it is part of a customs union after leaving the EU.

As the talks dragged on until the early hours, one European Union diplomat reportedly said: 'His domestic audience demands he's tough on Britain for historic reasons, but France is among the most-hit in any no-deal Brexit.

Mr Corbyn said: "The second extension in the space of a fortnight represents not only a diplomatic failure but is another milestone in the government's mishandling of the entire Brexit process".

"A longer Brexit extension would have been better!" tweeted Norbert Roettgen, chairman of the German parliament's foreign affairs committee and a member of Merkel's party.

May came to the summit in Brussels seeking a delay to June 30.

Over a dinner of scallops and cod, 27 European leaders wrangled between a long-game strategy, favoured by European Council President Donald Tusk, to give Britain up to a year to figure out how to leave the EU and Macron's desire to put pressure on British Prime Minister Theresa May by keeping any delay short.

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May went to Brussels on Wednesday seeking to postpone Brexit after United Kingdom lawmakers rejected - three times - the divorce deal she had struck with the EU.

Britain will be able to leave before then if its parliament finally manages to ratify the hotly-contested divorce deal May reached with the bloc and that has been behind all the political turmoil in London, with MPs unable to back it - or any alternative they themselves have come up with. Most member states entered the meeting in support of a longer extension of variable durations - up until March 2020 in some cases - but French President Emmanuel Macron took a tough line to demand a short extension until June.

He said: "I thought the Prime Minister said a few weeks ago that she wouldn't agree to any extension and now we are getting quite a long one".

The conclusions of Monday's summit demanded "sincere cooperation" from Britain, meaning it will not spoil European Union decisions in the pre-Brexit period.

European Council president Donald Tusk did not rule out further extensions, but said the October extension should be enough to find the "best possible solution". As such, a negotiation to get a majority of MPs behind the Brexit deal won't be easy, even if there is now more time.

Over an informal lunch of sausage and sausage rolls Tuesday after additional talks, the two sides said they'd resume their discussions after Wednesday's summit.

Alternatively, the government may still collapse under the pressure of Brexit, bringing about a general election and potentially a U-turn in British Brexit policy.

The European Council unanimously backed the extension and stuck to its official position that the Withdrawal Agreement was not open to renegotiation, insisting again that responsibility for the process was in British hands, while also reminding British colleagues in the margins that changes could still be negotiated for the Political Declaration regarding the future relationship of the EU and the UK.

"It does not need to leave with no deal; in the moment it does not need to vote for your offer".