MPs vote in favour of Theresa May's plan to delay Brexit until June 30
UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor
- Members of Parliament back Theresa May's plan to delay Brexit until June 30.
- The prime minister will now travel to Brussels on Wednesday where she will seek the support of EU leaders for a delay.
- The European Council will decide on the length and conditions of any extension on Wednesday evening.
- EU leaders are reportedly in favour of a much longer delay to Brexit of up to one year.
- Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.
LONDON - Members of Parliament have voted in favour of Theresa May's plans to delay Brexit until June 30, ahead of the prime minister's trip to Brussels on Wednesday.
May's motion seeking a delay until June 30 was approved by 420 votes to 110 with the opposition Labour party supporting it.
However, the prime minister suffered a significant rebellion among Conservative MPs, who voted against any request to delay.
The vote was called after MPs passed a bill on Monday which forced the prime minister to seek approval from the House of Commons before seeking a request for a Brexit delay.
The prime minister will now travel to the European Council summit in Brussels on Wednesday where she will formally request that EU leaders grant her a two-and-a-half month delay to Britain's exit from the EU.
May's request is unlikely to be accepted however, with EU leaders reportedly preparing to insist that Britain must instead accept a delay of up to 12 months.
Any delay going beyond May 22 will not need further approval from the House of Commons.
Leaked internal discussions suggest the European Council is likely to insist that Britain takes part in the upcoming European Parliament elections, and promise not to use its veto while it remains a member.
The prime minister is due to meet for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday evening to discuss her plans.. Macron has been the most publicly resistant to granting an extension.
May had been hoping to secure broad agreement for a deal with the opposition Labour party in advance of the summit.
However, talks between the two parties ended on Tuesday with no sign of a deal.
A spokesperson for the prime minister said on Tuesday afternoon: "We have had further productive and wide-ranging talks this afternoon, and the parties have agreed to meet again on Thursday once European Council has concluded."
"We remain completely committed to delivering on Brexit, with both sides working hard to agreeing a way forward, appreciating the urgency in order to avoid European elections."
May's fate in Europe's hands
May's dash to Europe comes as the Conservative party officially begins its preparations for the upcoming European Parliament elections.
"Due to the current situation we will be contesting the European elections on May 23rd," party officials emailed prospective Conservative candidates this week.
May's deputy David Lidington also laid a legal order on Monday to allow the elections to go ahead, just weeks after the prime minister suggested that she would resign rather than allow a long extension.
The Conservatives fear being hit badly in upcoming elections by any decision to delay Brexit. Elections expert Lord Hayward has predicted that the party will suffer a significant "Brexit penalty" in May's local elections.
Smaller opposition parties are also expecting to benefit from public dissatisfaction with both the major parties at the European elections.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is hoping to make gains with his new Brexit party and pro-European former Labour and Conservative MPs in the Independent Group are also expected to stand candidates.
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