UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s request to delay the official Brexit date for a second time — already set years after the Brexit referendum — has been granted by the European Union, pushing the British departure from the bloc back to October 31st.
The delay to the end of October means, except in the case of an unlikely sudden breaking of the Parliamentary logjam that is both preventing May’s deal and blocking a no-deal Brexit, the United Kingdom is going to be taking part in late May’s European Union Parliament elections.
The date comes as a typical European Union compromise between two distinct camps that emerged during the marathon six-hour discussion between European heads of government in the Council chamber last night.
On one hand was European Council President Donald Tusk, who led calls to give Britain a much longer delay than requested, up to a year in all. While Theresa May had asked for June 30th as a new date — and even previously implied she would resign if Brexit ran any longer, later walking back from that — Tusk said earlier in the week it was better to give Britain more time rather than having a series of short extensions, subjecting Europe to a succession of cliff-edge decisions.
Trick or treat? Claims that EU has agreed to allow Brexit delay until October 31st
May In Brussels as EU Leaders Deliberate Second Brexit Extension
European Union leaders are gathering for a special European Council meeting in Brussels to discuss whether to allow the United Kingdom to have a second delay to the official Brexit date.
The compromise, then, is halfway between the two camps — October 31st — giving May Six months to convince Parliament to play along with the plan she and the European Union created to create what critics call a ‘Brexit in Name Only’.
The date has already elicited mirth in the British and U.S. press, where Halloween is marked on October 31st. Yet as the Daily Telegraph reports, it is not widely known across Europe and in the words of Irish President Leo
Perhaps articulating the frustration in Brussels that May has been unable to bring her Parliamentary colleagues onboard with the scheme, Council President Donald Tusk spoke at a 2am news conference and warned Britain: “Please do not waste this time”.
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Theresa May is expected to address Parliament today to update British lawmakers on the European summit later Thursday.