Theresa May has told MPs that they must pass her Brexit deal by next Wednesday or face a lengthy delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union.
The prime minister was speaking after the House of Commons voted to rule out a no-deal Brexit amid chaotic scenes, with the government telling MPs to vote against its own motion.
“If the House finds a way in the coming days to support a deal, it would allow the government to seek a short limited technical extension to article 50 to provide time to pass the necessary legislation and ratify the agreement we have reached with the EU,” the prime minister said.
“If it is not willing to support a deal in the coming days, and as it is not willing to support leaving without a deal on March 29th, then it is suggesting that there will need to be a much longer extension to article 50.
“Such an extension would undoubtedly require the United Kingdom to hold European Parliament elections in May 2019.”
MPs will vote on Thursday on a motion saying that if a deal is approved by March 20th, a day before next week’s EU summit in Brussels, the government will seek a one-off extension to article 50 until June 30th.
The motion says that if no deal has been approved by then, the EU is likely to insist that an extension must be for much longer and that Britain would have to take part in May’s European Parliament elections.
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