The EU will not allow a delay to Brexit unless Theresa May passes her deal soon 1 year ago

The EU will not allow a delay to Brexit unless Theresa May passes her deal soon

Parliament has already rejected the withdrawal agreement twice, but must now accept it to guarantee an extension

European Council president Donald Tusk has laid down a gauntlet to British politicians, stating that the EU will not allow for an extension to the deadline on Brexit unless they give the green light to Theresa May's withdrawal agreement.

The prime minister and EU agreed the deal back in November but it has suffered two major defeats in the House of Commons, first by 202 votes and then by a majority of 149. Since then, parliament has overwhelmingly backed delaying Brexit, pending their European counterparts accepting such a plea.

May sent her formal request to push the March 29 deadline on negotiations back to June 30 on Wednesday, which Tusk responded to by stating that any delay would be "conditional" on accepting the withdrawal agreement.

"I believe that a short extension will be possible, but it will be conditional on a positive vote on the withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons," Tusk told reporters.

"The question remains open as to the duration of such an extension. Prime minister May's proposal of June 30, which has its merits, creates a series of questions of a legal and political nature."

Each member state will also need to green light the extension, which will be discussed at an EU summit commencing Thursday. Council president Tusk added his belief that, if all parties can agree and the deal is passed, there will be light at the end of the long, long, long, long Brexit tunnel.

"If the [EU] leaders approve my recommendations and if there's a positive vote in the House of Commons next week, we can finalise and formalise the decision of extension in the written procedure," he said.

"Even if the hope of a final success may seem frail, even illusory, and although Brexit fatigue is increasingly visible and justified we cannot give up seeking until the very last moment, a positive solution."