March 21 (UPI) — British Prime Minister Theresa May was granted approval for an extension to the deadline for Britain to exit the European Union on Thursday.
EU President Donald Tusk announced EU leaders unanimously agreed to the extension to Article 50 on Twitter, pushing back Britain’s withdrawal date to May 22 if May’s withdrawal agreement with the EU is approved next week and until April 12 if it is not.
In a news conference after reaching the agreement, May said she would return to London on Friday to persuade Members of Parliament to back her deal.
“Tomorrow morning I will be returning to the U.K. and working hard,” she said.
May also responded to questions over whether the Brexit process would ever actually be completed.
“Yes, we will be leaving the European Union,” she said.
Before she left for the negotiations, May said MPs have been “unable” to agree on her Brexit deal.
“This delay is a matter of great personal regret for me,” May said. “It is high time that we made a decision. All MPs have been willing to say is what they don’t want. Nearly three years have passed since the public have voted to leave the European Union … I came to office on a promise to deliver on that verdict.”
Labor party leader Jeremy Corbyn said May’s deal has already been rejected twice by parliament.
“It should not be brought back for a third time of asking. Her government is in chaos, and she is arrogantly trying to bully parliament to vote for the same bad deal,” Corbyn said. “After serious talks with senior MPs from across parliament, I believe it should be possible to agree a deal with the EU that secures a close economic relationship before the European parliament elections.”
He said he’s meeting with EU leaders Thursday to push for a plan that protects manufacturing jobs.
“It’s time for MPs to work together, find a consensus that can get through parliament, be negotiated with the EU in time and bring leave and remain voters together,” he said.
Many MPs have been abused and intimidated and were warned by House of Commons deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle to consider their safety when traveling.
“The Brexit process is reaching a critical moment and MPs are the focal point of public attention in a manner that we have rarely seen before,” Hoyle said. “The public is looking to us to resolve the current impasse and it is clear that tensions and emotions are running at an all-time high.”
French President Emmanuel Macron could vote against delaying Brexit, as could other leaders.
Parliament has three options next week, foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said.
One would be to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit, though that’s unlikely. Two would be to call an emergency EU summit to get an extension that could have “onerous conditions.” Three would be a no-deal Brexit where Britain crashes out of the EU with no trade deals in place.
“The choice we have no is one of resolving this issue, or extreme unpredictability,” Hunt said.