The EU is prepared to discuss extending Article 50 if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is rejected next week, after her proposal was badly undermined by the Government’s own legal advice.
The Telegraph reports that the Prime Minister will travel to Brussels on December 13, two days after the Parliamentary vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, when EU leaders are ready to discuss postponing Brexit.
Mrs May insists Britain will leave the EU on March 29 next year, but EU sources have said her fellow leaders would be open to the idea of extending the Article 50 process if it meant avoiding a no-deal Brexit.
EU leaders are prepared to offer her a lifeline by offering to extend the Article 50 process – and postponing Brexit beyond March – if she asks them to at the two-day summit next week.
A succession of Tory MPs, including Sir Michael Fallon and Mark Harper, on Wednesday urged Mrs May to return to Brussels and seek a revised deal.
However, Mrs May will be hugely reluctant to postpone Brexit as it would mean breaking her promise that Britain will leave the EU on March 29, which could in turn force her to resign and give a new Conservative prime minister the opportunity to renegotiate the deal. Last night the DUP, on whose votes Mrs May relies for her working majority, encouraged Brexiteers to vote against the deal by saying its MPs would support the Government in a confidence vote if the deal was rejected.
However, the party said its confidence and supply deal with the Conservative Party would be over if the deal is voted through, effectively giving Mrs May a choice between her deal or her premiership.