Prime Minister Theresa May has this morning written to European Council President Donald Tusk asking for a new Brexit extension to 30 June 2019 – three months after the UK was originally set to leave the EU.
However, Mr Tusk has told member countries of the EU to endorse a longer extension until 31 March 2020, over a year after the UK was due to leave.
In a formal letter signed by Mrs May, the Prime Minister said: “It is frustrating that we have not yet brought this process to a successful and orderly conclusion.
“The United Kingdom Government remains strongly committed to doing so, and will continue to act as a constructive and responsible Member State of the European Union in accordance with the duty of sincere cooperation throughout this unique period.
“I would be grateful for the opportunity to update our colleagues on the position at our meeting on Wednesday.”
In a contrasting statement, Mr Tusk told EU officials that the only “reasonable” way out of the current Brexit crisis in Parliament is to allow another year for negotiations.
The statements come after an earthquake week in Parliament which saw multiple amendments shut down, streakers invade the House of Commons, water leak through the rough forcing the House of Commons to close, and the Speaker John Bercow casting a deciding vote – the last time that happened was in 1993 during the Maastricht Treaty.
Theresa May also met with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn for cross-party talks in the hope of reaching a compromise that will pass a majority in the Commons, something Mrs May has struggled to achieve for weeks.
By seeking an extension Mrs May confirms the UK is preparing for European Parliament elections, an option ardent Brexiteers have strongly pushed back on.
Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson blasted the current course of Brexit, saying Britain now faces the “ridiculous possibility of being forced to contest the European elections more than three years after leaving the EU.”