The EU will heap pressure on Britain to decide Brexit once and for all before May when Europeans head to the ballot to vote for the European Parliament.
The European Union looks set to stun Remainers who are hoping to delay Brexit and secure a second referendum by revealing a shock Brexit deadline. The EU ambassador to the US David O’Sullivan has revealed that the EU leadership want Brexit sorted once and for all before the end of May, when Europe votes for its MEPs. Remainers are hoping to extend Article 50 if Theresa May’s Brexit deal loses as expected in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
However, a second referendum would take 22 weeks to hold according to experts, which is far beyond the date set out by the EU ambassador.
This could plunge Britain into chaos, as the EU signals that Article 50 would only be extended for less than two months.
David O’Sullivan told Fox Business: “So far we have agreed that the UK will leave at the end of March.
“They may delay it, that is a possibility. You would need unanimous agreement among the EU27 as well as the UK to decide that.
“It is clear that the the looming EU elections across all of Europe is a date people have in mind.
“It would be a bit strange for the UK to participate in those elections and then leave a few months or weeks later.
“It is an element in how long any delay could be. The EU and UK would want to avoid that possibility.
“It would not be satisfactory for people to vote in an organisation that you are going to be leaving.”
According to a report in the Evening Standard this week, Mrs May’s cabinet ministers have also said the UK isn’t yet ready to quit Europe due to a legislative backlog.
A senior minister told the paper: “The legislative timetable is now very very tight indeed.”
There was also an meeting at Number 10 between May and her Tory MEPs this week – suggesting Britain could take part in the European Parliament elections on May 23.
Speaking to BuzzFeed News on condition of anonymity, a Conservative MEP confirmed that the party’s representatives in the European parliament had discussed “in whispers and hushed tones” having to stand again in May if Article 50 is extended.