Wednesday 20 March 2019 4:44 pm

Donald Tusk: Brexit delay only if MPs pass May’s deal

The EU will grant Theresa May’s request to delay Brexit if MPs finally pass the withdrawal agreement next week, European Council president Donald Tusk has confirmed.

May formally requested a delay to the UK leaving the EU on 29 March in a letter to Tusk on Wednesday, asking for 30 June to be the new date of Brexit.

After speaking to her on the phone on Wednesday afternoon, Tusk said while the length of the delay was up for negotiation, any extension would only be granted if the Commons passed May’s deal at third time of asking.

The comments raise the very real prospect that the UK could leave the EU without a deal on 29 March.

Tusk said: "In light of the consultations that I have conducted over the last days I believe that a short extension will be possible, but it will be conditional on a positive vote on the withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons.

“The question remains open as to the duration of such an extension.

“Prime Minister May’s proposal of the 30th of June, which has its merits, creates a series of questions of a legal and political nature.

“Leaders will discuss this tomorrow.”

Tusk said if MPs pass the deal next week there would not need to be an emergency summit of EU leaders. However, he said “an extraordinary European Council” could be called if required.

May will travel to Brussels on Thursday to make the case for an extension to EU leaders directly.

Anyone of the 27 member states can veto the request.