Theresa May won't request a long Brexit delay - ruling out a second referendum 2 years ago

Theresa May won't request a long Brexit delay - ruling out a second referendum

The PM remains intent on pushing her own withdrawal agreement through despite two large defeats

Following a vote from parliament to extend negotiations with the European Union, Theresa May is set to seek only a short delay to Brexit.


The House of Commons voted by 412 to 202 to prolong the Article 50 process of leaving the EU although the other 27 member states must unanimously agree on accepting the request. As of yet, it is unconfirmed how long exactly the prime minister will seek.

However it is not going to be a long delay, a spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday.

"[The] PM won't be asking for a long extension," they said.

"There is a case for giving parliament a bit more time to agree a way forward, but the people of this country have been waiting nearly three years now.

"They are fed up with parliament's failure to take a decision and the PM shares their frustration."

Ministers have warned that only allowing a few more weeks for negotiations and parliamentary votes, with a new deadline of late May or June among the dates reported, will increase the risk of leaving without a deal.


One minister was quoted by BBC political editor as calling the move: "Her most craven surrender to the hardliners yet. She knows this is the wrong choice for the country but she’s putting her short term interests first."

A longer extension would have likely meant the UK participates in European parliament elections in spite of the Brexit vote, a prospect not favoured by all parties, but also would have allowed time for game changers such as a general election or second referendum.

May is said to be considering putting her withdrawal agreement to a third vote in the coming days anyway, although speaker John Bercow has so far blocked her from doing so. Parliament can nonetheless overturn that decision if they feel it has a chance of actually going through. Don't hold your breath on that one.