UK’s Theresa May says Brexit transition period could grow, draws ire

Donald Tusk has asked for 'concrete proposals' from Theresa May

Donald Tusk has asked for 'concrete proposals' from Theresa May

May has signalled that she would consider extending the Brexit transition period "for a matter of months" after Britain leaves the European Union in March, to iron out remaining issues.

The ability of the British PM to deliver a plan that will pass through the House of Commons arose after Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, informed the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, on Sunday that May could not get an agreement past her cabinet or the DUP, on whose votes her government heavily relies.

Mrs May faced a backlash from Brexiteers after she indicated at a Brussels summit on Wednesday that she was not ruling out the United Kingdom remaining in the single market and customs union and subject to EU rules as late as the end of 2021.

Mr Varadkar was speaking on the second day of the Asia-Europe summit in Brussels.

"What has now emerged is the idea that an option to extend the implementation period could be a further solution to this issue of the backstop in Northern Ireland", she said.

She added: "I'm not standing here proposing an extension to the implementation period".

Conservative MPs on all sides of the party are losing patience with her leadership. Another former Conservative minister, Nick Boles, warned that May was "losing the confidence now of colleagues of all shades of opinion".

British Prime Minister Theresa May also spoke about "working intensively over the next days and weeks" to achieve an agreement to avoid a no-deal departure from the bloc on March 29 that could create chaos at the borders and in the economy. "And I certainly will not", she will say.

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"An independent and crossbencher is there to hold government to account, not to hold government to ransom", Dr Phelps said. Ms Credlin said Mr Morrison's job would now be infinitely harder and his government would struggle to seem legitimate.

"They are close to despair at the state of this negotiation because there is a fear that both the Government and the European Union are trying to run out the clock, that they are trying to leave this so late that they can credibly say there is no alternative but a no-deal Brexit, and most people agree that would be chaos". But she said the extra time was merely an insurance policy and was unlikely to be needed. Liberal Democrat lawmaker Tom Brake said May was merely "kicking the can further down the road". But even an extension would not get rid of the EU's insistence that such a backstop must be agreed to secure a deal.

Reuters also reported that European Union leaders would discuss support for free trade, the Iran nuclear deal and combating global warming, but also forging relationships with China, Japan and Russian Federation as a counterbalance to a more protectionist United States.

"We now need to do the same behind Theresa May to maximise her negotiating leverage in Brussels and make sure she does come back with that deal that honours the letter and spirit of the referendum decision".

Prime Minister Theresa May will tell Britain's parliament on Monday that Brexit negotiations are "95 percent" complete but that she can not accept the European Union's Northern Ireland border proposals as she faces down an increasingly mutinous faction within her own party.

However, Brexiteers have reacted with anger at suggestions the UK's stay within the EU's structures could be lengthened beyond what had previously been agreed as a 21-month period.

The EU insist the "backstop" must apply to Northern Ireland only, which is fiercely opposed by the DUP, whose MPs prop-up the government.

The two-day European Council summit was expected to be a "moment of truth" for both sides reaching agreement.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said he, too, was more optimistic than after a bad-tempered EU summit last month and stalled negotiations last weekend.

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