Pro EU protestors and singers of a choir perform opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Monday, April 8, 2019. Britain’s government and opposition are clinging to hope Monday of finding a compromise Brexit deal.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

What next? A new delay could prolong UK’s Brexit agony

Britain is scheduled to leave the EU in three days

British Prime Minister Theresa May is crisscrossing Europe in search of a Brexit delay. In London, government ministers are meeting their political opponents in search of a European Union divorce deal. Meanwhile, Britain is scheduled to leave the EU in three days.

With almost everything about Brexit engulfed in uncertainty, a look at what could happen next:

DELAY EXIT DAY

For two years, Britain was scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, 2019. But after Parliament three times rejected the divorce deal agreed between the U.K. government and the bloc, May admitted defeat and asked for more time.

Last month, the EU gave Britain until April 12 — this Friday — to pass a deal, come up with a new plan and seek a further extension, or leave without an agreement or a transition period to smooth the way.

Now May wants a bit more time. She has asked the EU to delay Brexit until June 30, in hope that’ll be enough time to secure, approve and implement a deal.

The 27 other leaders of the bloc will consider the request at an emergency Brexit summit in Brussels on Wednesday. Few favour the June 30 date. Some want a longer extension, to avoid repeated crises every few weeks.

European Council President Donald Tusk has proposed a “flextension:” a delay of up to a year, but with flexibility to let Britain leave earlier if it approves an agreement.

But an extension is not guaranteed. French President Emmanuel Macron has hinted at opposition to any further delay, saying the bloc can’t be held “hostage” to Britain’s political crisis.

READ MORE: U.K. government, opposition cling to hope of Brexit compromise

___

NO DEAL

As it stands, Britain is due to leave the EU on Friday — deal or no deal.

Most politicians, economists and business groups think leaving the world’s largest trading bloc without an agreement would be damaging for the EU and disastrous for the U.K. It could lead to tariffs imposed on trade between Britain and the EU and customs checks that could cause gridlock at ports and shortages of essential goods.

A hard core of pro-Brexit lawmakers in May’s Conservative Party dismiss such warnings as fear-mongering. But most are opposed to leaving without a deal. Parliament has voted repeatedly to rule out a “no-deal” Brexit, and even passed a law that forces the government to ask for a delay to Britain’s exit rather than crash out.

But a no-deal Brexit is still the legal default position, and could happen if the EU refuses to grant another extension. If that happens the only way to stop Britain crashing out would be for the government to choose the “nuclear option” and revoke the decision to leave.

___

CROSS-PARTY COMPROMISE

To secure a new Brexit delay, May must convince EU leaders that she has a plan to break the deadlock that grips Britain’s political process almost three years after the country voted to leave the EU.

After attempts to win push through her Brexit deal with support from Conservatives along, May last week began seeking a compromise with her Labour opponents.

Labour favours a softer Brexit than the government has proposed and seeks a close economic relationship with the bloc through a customs union. That’s anathema to many in May’s Conservative Party, who say it would not leave Britain free to strike its own trade deals around the world.

Several days of talks have failed to produce a breakthrough, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn saying “the government doesn’t seem to be moving off its original red lines.” Still, negotiations between senior politicians from the two sides are continuing.

If they reach agreement around a “soft Brexit,” it could quite likely get through Parliament, and would be welcomed by the EU, allowing Britain an orderly departure in the coming months.

But it could also blast open rifts within both Conservatives and Labour. Pro-Brexit government ministers could resign or pressure May to quit. Corbyn would face rebellion from a large number of Labour lawmakers who want a new referendum on Britain’s EU exit.

That instability increases the chance of an early British election, which could rearrange Parliament and break the deadlock — or result in still more stalemate.

___

NO BREXIT

Among pro-EU Britons, there is rising hope that Brexit can be stopped.

With one Brexit day come and gone and another likely to follow, the government has lost control of the timetable.

This week the government started preparing to take part in elections for the European Parliament in late May — acknowledgement that Britain likely won’t have left the bloc by then, and may not leave anytime soon.

Support is growing for the idea that any Brexit deal agreed by Parliament should be put to public vote in a “confirmatory referendum,” with the other option being to stay in the EU. The proposal is backed by Labour and other opposition parties, plus some of May’s Conservatives.

The government has ruled out holding another referendum, saying voters in 2016 made their decision to leave. But with divisions in both Parliament and in May’s Cabinet, handing the decision back to the people in a new plebiscite could be seen as the only way forward.

READ MORE: Trump renews Mueller attacks as Russia report release looms

___

Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

Just Posted

UPDATE: Power restored to Vernon

Power went down around 4:30 p.m. in the middle of the city, reportedly caused by vandalism

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: mix of sun and clouds

Environment Canada is predicting a 30 per cent chance of showers and a risk of thunderstorms this afternoon across the Okanagan

Vernon pageant participant heads stateside

Samantha Sewell will represent North America at Miss Royalty International in Milwaukee

Vernon summer mural tours start with new guides

The mural tours started on June 28 and will run until Sept. 27

PHOTOS: Armstrong MetalFest rocks Hassen

Big crowds gather for popular two-day annual heavy metal music festival

VIDEO: Okanagan Valley weekday weather update

Environment Canada says it’s going to be a rainy week

Boy’s best friend gets help from South Okanagan community

Community rallies around dog that needed surgery for two broken legs

Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

UPDATE: special council meeting set for Wednesday, Basran in talks with province

Opponents of McCurdy house says she won’t ‘relinquish possession’ of more than 14,000 names

Most Read