The EU agrees to delay Brexit until May 22 if MPs back Theresa May's deal

Theresa May Jean-Claude JunckerStefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images

  • The EU offers to delay Brexit until May 22 if the UK parliament backs the Brexit deal next week.
  • The offer falls short of prime minister Theresa May's request for a delay until June 30.
  • A majority of British MPs have yet to signal their support for the deal.
  • EU leaders warn that Britain is heading towards a no-deal Brexit.

LONDON - The European Union has agreed to give the United Kingdom a short delay to Brexit - but only if Members of Parliament vote for Theresa May's deal next week.

Leaders of the 27 other EU member states said on Thursday that they were prepared to extend the Article 50 withdrawal process until May 22, to give the UK time to prepare for its departure, according to draft conclusions obtained by several news organisation.

However, the offer falls some way short of the three month extension ending on June 30 which the prime minister had asked for.

The EU Council said that it would only grant a short extension if MPs approve May's deal with the EU next week. This currently looks unlikely, with opponents of the Withdrawal Agreement reluctant to budge.

The decision came after the prime minister fielded questions from other EU leaders for well over an hour.

It followed French President Emmanuel Macron warning UK MPs that voting down May's deal next week would "guide everybody" to a no-deal scenario, which is opposed by the UK government, the EU, and the vast majority of MPs in London.

The EU is set to hold an emergency summit next week if May's deal is rejected for a third time and has said that Brexit could be delayed for a much longer period of time if the UK can illustrate a clear purpose for doing so.

MPs will next week attempt to take control of the Brexit process, in order to avert no deal and push for a softer Brexit.

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