The Latest: EU‘s Tusk: bloc should ponder long Brexit delay

By – Associated Press – Thursday, March 14, 2019

LONDON (AP) – The Latest on Britain’s departure from the (all times local):

9:25 a.m.

Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, says the bloc should be open to granting Britain a long delay to its departure.

In a tweet, Tusk said Thursday that, in consultations ahead of next week’s summit of leaders in Brussels, he will appeal to the leaders of the other 27 nations “to be open to a long extension if the U.K. finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus about it.”

The prospect of Brexit being delayed from the scheduled date of March 29 has grown over recent days after Prime Minister Theresa May saw her withdrawal agreement with the heavily defeated again in the British Parliament. Lawmakers in London are set to vote later Thursday on whether to request May to seek an extension from the .

Her preference appears to be for a short delay, until the end of June. She has warned Brexit supporters who oppose her deal that if no withdrawal agreement is passed in the coming days, the extension could then last a long time and could mean Brexit never actually happens.

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9:10 a.m.

British lawmakers are set to vote on whether to delay Britain’s departure from the as Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to overcome further erosion of her authority.

The vote later Thursday comes a day after chaotic scenes in the House of Commons, when lawmakers voted to rule out leaving the without a deal. Over a dozen government ministers abstained rather than support May’s bid to preserve the no-deal option.

May now plans to make a third attempt to get lawmakers to support her Brexit deal.

Treasury chief Philip Hammond told Sky on Thursday that there was “confusion” around Wednesday night’s votes, when several ministers failed to back the government. But he told Sky: “I don’t expect there to be mass sackings as a result of last night.”

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