After being granted a Brexit reprieve by the European Union, British Prime Minister Theresa May urged British lawmakers to pause, reflect on the need for compromise and then fulfil their “national duty” to approve a Brexit deal to take Britain out of the EU.
Updating the House of Commons hours after the 27 other EU leaders agreed to postpone Brexit until Oct. 31, May said she knew the country was “intensely frustrated” by the impasse.
The new deadline of 31 October means the UK is likely to have to hold European Parliament elections in May.
May insisted that she never wanted to seek this extension and urged members of Parliament to take stock and “reflect” over a 10-day Easter break that starts Friday.
Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, with whom May hopes to strike a compromise accord, called the Brexit delay “another milestone in the government’s mishandling of the entire Brexit process.”
“The prime minister stuck rigidly to a flawed plan and now the clock has run down, leaving Britain in limbo,” Corbyn said.
And there was little solace for May on her own side of the House of Commons, as pro-Brexit lawmakers from her Conservative Party accused her of capitulating to Brussels.
Brexit was originally set to happen on 29 March. But after MPs repeatedly rejected Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement with the EU, the deadline was put back to 12 April.
The new 31 October deadline averts the prospect of the UK having to leave the EU without a deal this Friday.