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EU suggests 12-month flexible Brexit delay


Brussels:  European Council President Donald Tusk is proposing to offer the UK a 12-month "flexible" extension to its Brexit date, according to a senior European Union (EU) source.

His plan would allow the UK to leave sooner if Parliament ratifies a deal, but it would need to be agreed by EU leaders at a summit next week, the BBC reported on Friday citing the unnamed source.

The UK is due to leave the EU on April 12 and as of now, no withdrawal deal has been approved by MPs.

The source that Tusk "believes he's come up with an answer", after several hours of meetings in preparation for the summit.

The EU has previously said that the UK must decide by April 12 whether it will stand candidates in May's European Parliamentary elections, or else the option of a long extension to Brexit would become impossible.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said a further postponement to the Brexit date is needed if the UK is to avoid leaving the EU without a deal, a scenario both EU leaders and many British MPs believe would create problems for businesses and cause difficulties at ports.

However, May wants to keep any delay as short as possible.

To do that, she and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would need to agree a proposal for MPs to vote on before April 10.

If they cannot, May has said a number of options would be put to MPs "to determine which course to pursue".

Meanwhile, the Downing Street said "technical" talks between Labour and the Conservatives that lasted lasted over four hours on Thursday, had been "productive" and would continue on Friday.

If the talks fail, the government faces an additional obstacle in the form of a backbench bill which would force May to seek a new delay.

Passed by MPs by one vote on Wednesday, the bill is being scrutinised by the House of Lords, who will next consider the draft legislation on April 8.

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