Reading Time: 2 minutes

The European Union is poised to tell Theresa May that she must hold a second referendum or soften Brexit in return for them granting a lengthy delay to Britain’s departure date.

The Times reports that the prime minister has been told by senior EU officials and other European leaders that conditions for an extension to the Article 50 exit process would include the option of a second vote on EU membership.

Mrs May is expected to ask a summit of EU leaders next week for a delay to Brexit. Unless the House of Commons has ratified the withdrawal agreement by then momentum is growing across the EU for a lengthy postponement to give Britain a “long reflection period”.

MPs have voted to extend Brexit beyond 29 March, until at least June, by backing a government motion which May was forced to agree to if her own Brexit plan was defeated again, as it was on Tuesday.

The amendment decrees that the government will seek an agreement with the EU for an extension to article 50 beyond that date. It was passed by 412 votes to 202.

The Brexit deadline is legally binding – and can’t be extended without the agreement of all 27 other EU countries.

If accepted by all the 27 other EU member states, it means that the United Kingdom will not leave the EU on March 29 as originally scheduled.

However, if the House of Commons does not approve a deal by Wednesday, the UK government will be forced to ask for a much longer delay, in order to create time to find a new way forward, the prime minister has said.

This will also mean that if all EU 27 states agree so that a longer extension happens then, the UK would take part in the European elections 10 weeks from now.

Via The Times