Wednesday 20 March 2019 12:23 pm

Theresa May asks EU to extend Article 50 until 30 June as EU presses for 2020 extension

Reporter at City A.M. covering City politics, transport and law. Get in touch:

Reporter at City A.M. covering City politics, transport and law. Get in touch:

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Theresa May has asked the EU to delay Brexit by three months to 30 June.

The Prime Minister has confirmed that she has asked Brussels to extend Article 50 – the mechanism that allows the UK to leave the EU – for three months rather than to seek a longer extension.

Read more: Sterling dips lower as May rules out long Brexit delay

She said it would not be in "anyone's interests" for the UK to take part in European Parliament elections.

At Prime Minister's questions this afternoon, May said: "This House has indulged itself on Europe for too long. It's time for this House to determine that it wil deliver on Brexit for the British people.

"They deserve better than this House has given them so far."

Sterling fell 0.4 per cent from $1.325 this morning to $1.320 shortly after May addressed parliament, while it fell almost 0.6 per cent against the euro – from €1.168 this morning to €1.161 this afternoon.

However, Reuters reported that the EU Commission believes an extension to 30 June would be "legally and politically" difficult and that the 27 leaders are minded to delay Brexit until either just 23 May – when elections to the EU Parliament start – or until at least the end of this year.

The leaked document read: "Any extension offered to the United Kingdom should either last until 23 May 2019 or should be significantly longer and require European elections. This is the only way of protecting the functioning of the EU institutions and their ability to take decisions.”

Read more: DEBATE: Can UK employment withstand the shock of a no-deal Brexit?

May will head to a European Council summit in Brussels tomorrow, where she will discuss with the EU 27 leaders what options there are to delay Article 50. All 27 have to agree to a delay to make it possible.