Britain will remain as a member state of the EU until 31 October, with the option to leave earlier if May can secure Commons support for the Brexit deal.

Iran Press/Europe: Speaking during a media conference at the conclusion of an EU summit in Brussels, British prime minister Theresa May repeatedly ducked questions about her future as prime minister, after having previously said she would not accept an extension beyond 30 June, The Guardian reported.

She simply insisted that the UK 'can still leave on May 22 and not hold those European parliamentary elections' if parliament passes the withdrawal deal.

May also once again blamed MPs for being the cause of public frustration over the failure to implement Brexit.

May blames MPs for stopping UK departure

Asked whether she should apologize for the UK still being in the EU, she said: "Over the last three months I have voted three times to leave the European Union. If sufficient members of parliament had voted with me in January we would already be out of the European Union."
The UK also has the option to leave in June if PM can secure Commons support for the deal

Britain will remain as a member state of the EU until 31 October, with the option to leave earlier if May can secure Commons support for the Brexit deal.

A marathon six-hour debate among the EU leaders late into Wednesday night concluded with the prime minister being offered a longer extension than she had sought but providing new autumn with no deal cliff-edge to focus minds in Westminster.

Donald Tusk warns Britain about wasting time

"This extension is as flexible as I expected and a little bit shorter than I expected but it is still enough to find the best possible solution", the European council president, Donald Tusk, told a media conference that began after 2 am local time.

Tusk warned Britain by saying: "Please do not waste this time".

The EU would also hold a symbolic June summit to review the UK’s behavior as a member state following an outspoken intervention by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, about the need to avoid a 'rogue' Britain undermining the European project.

During the day Macron had sought to maintain the pressure on Britain to act with an 'enhanced duty of sincere cooperation' during the extra period of membership following the threats from Brexiters, including Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, that the UK could seek to disrupt the bloc from within. The June summit will be an opportunity to 'take stock' but it is not a cliff-edge, Jean-Claude Juncker said.

After the new date was announced, Macron said leaders had found 'the best possible compromise' because 31 October preserved EU unity, allowed the British more time and preserved 'the good functioning of the European Union'.

Merkel clashes with Macron over Brexit

On the other hand, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had clashed with Macron, both over Berlin’s insistence that May’s government can be trusted, and that a no-deal scenario should not be risked by offering up only a short delay such as one ending on 30 June, as requested by the British prime minister.

Merkel argued that a short delay would not offer any prospect of the impasse in Westminster being broken and the delay should instead end on 31 December. She had claimed that the biggest incentive for Conservative MPs to back the deal lay in the threat of having to hold European elections due to a failure to complete Brexit. But Macron warned against such a long extension, arguing that a no-deal threat should remain and that there were insufficient guarantees that the British government would act as a responsible member state. Sources suggested Paris had “gone in hard”, and forced EU capitals towards the shorter date.

The French president also insisted on the redrafting of the EU’s summit communique, writing in that the UK – during any extra time as a member state – would have to “refrain from any measure which could jeopardize the attainment of the union’s objectives, in particular when participating in the decision-making processes of the union”, according to a leak obtained by the Guardian.

The EU27 also emphasized their right to meet without the UK on key long-term decisions.

The differences between Paris and Berlin had been evident earlier in the day when Merkel told the Bundestag that May was likely to get a longer extension than she needed, while Macron told reporters on arrival at the summit that “nothing had been decided”, dismissing talk of a long extension as rumors.

Macron insisted on clarity from May about what Britain wants, warning: 'Nothing should compromise the European project.' 208/211/103

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