EU sets 12 April Brexit date if May's deal fails in parliament
22 March 2019
Britain will get time until 22 May to formally withdraw from the European Union if Prime Minister Theresa May wins parliament approval for her Brexit deal by the 29 March deadline. But if she fails to get parliament approval by then, Britain will be out of the Union by 12 April.
Leaders of 27 European Union member countries arrived at the modified deadline of 12 April for Britain’s exit from the EU after a crisis summit in Brussels on Thursday.
EU leaders proposed to give Britain an extra two months, until 22 May, to leave the Union if Theresa May’s Brexit deal gets parliament approval at the 29 March vote to avoid the risk of legal wrangling. May, however, failed to convince EU leaders that the deal would succeed.
With the elections to new EU parliament due on 23 May, Britain’s remaining in the EU beyond the 22 May deadline will be a stumbling block and hence the 22 May deadline. However, if May’s deal fails and Britain asks for a much longer Brexit delay, Britain would have to take part in EU elections. That, however, clashes with British law that mandates that elections would have to be announced six weeks beforehand, ie, by April 12.
"The European Council agrees to an extension until 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week," the EU statement read.
"If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until 12 April 2019 and expects the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward before this date for consideration by the European Council."
EU leaders warned ahead of Thursday’s summit that there is a possibility of Britain exiting the Union without a deal.
French President Emmanuel Macron said it was the responsibility of UK lawmakers to approve a Brexit deal and make sure Britain does not crash out of the bloc without an agreement.
“In case of a ‘no’ vote ... it will guide everybody to a no-deal for sure,” Macron cautioned. “This is it.”
It is utter chaos in the British parliament. The House of Commons is split, both among and within its political parties, over whether and how to leave the EU. It has twice rejected the deal Prime Minister Theresa May brokered with the bloc’s leaders late last year.