The UK Parliament has voted to postpone the Brexit deadline but it’s now up to the European Union to agree to an extension.
Prime Minister Theresa May put forward a measure Thursday that sought to delay the UK’s exit from the EU beyond the current March 29 deadline. Parliament voted 412 to 202 in favor.
Parliament approved the extension a day after it voted against leaving the European Union without some sort of deal in place, and two days after members of Parliament rejected the prime minister’s Brexit deal by an overwhelming margin for the second time.
But a “Brextension” is not guaranteed and could be complicated.
May has said that she would ask the EU for “a short limited technical extension,” until June 30, if Parliament approved her Brexit deal on March 20. This means she would try to pass her plan a third time. If her deal were to pass, the delay would simply provide the UK Parliament more time to pass the legislation to put the Brexit deal into law.
But, May warned, if Parliament doesn’t want to accept her deal a third time and doesn’t want to leave without a plan in place, then it’s possible any delay will have to be a long one, beyond the end of June.
May’s ultimatum appeared to be a last-minute threat to hardline Brexiteers those members of Parliament (MPs) who keep voting down her deal but also want a decisive break with the EU. She’s basically warning them to get behind her plan or risk giving Parliament more time to figure out something else that will be far less desirable to them like a softer Brexit, or a second referendum vote.
Ultimately, it’s up to the European Union to decide whether to grant any kind of extension. All 27 member states have to unanimously approve a delay, and they are almost certainly going to ask the UK: What is a delay good for?
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