As it happenedended1554938560

Brexit news - live: EU leaders agree to extend Article 50 until end of October

Live updates from Westminster and Brussels

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
,Lizzy Buchan,Adam Forrest
Wednesday 10 April 2019 23:55 BST
'The UK should have left the EU by now' Theresa May says the UK needs a Brexit extension in order to get a deal through Parliament

European leaders agreed to grant another extension to Britain’s membership of the EU at an emergency summit on Wednesday night, offering the UK a delay to its departure date until Halloween – 31 October.

Theresa May travelled to Brussels where she pleaded with EU leaders to delay Brexit until 30 June, rather than see the UK crash out without deal on Friday.

Most EU leaders appeared ready to back Donald Tusk’s proposal of a longer delay, but a decision was held up by French President Emmanuel Macron, who insisted on “no long extension”.

Here’​s how the day unfolded:


Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of another crunch day in the UK's long and winding journey out of the EU.

Theresa May is today set to repeat her call to extend Britain's membership of the bloc until 30 June, as the prospect of a no-deal Brexit on Friday looms.

But European leaders are expected to offer a longer "flextension" of up to a year. Such an option would allow Britain to leave earlier if the Brexit deadlock in Westminster is broken.

Chris Baynes10 April 2019 07:57

European leaders are "tired and fed up" with the UK's Brexit indecision, according to one EU diplomat. 

Speaking anonymously to Reuters, they said: "People are tired and fed up - but what to do? We won't be the ones pushing the UK off the cliff edge."

Chris Baynes10 April 2019 08:12

Theresa May is heading to Brussels later today for an emergency summit, where she will plead with the EU for a delay to Brexit.

But EU leaders are considering giving Ms May a Brexit extension until the end of the year, warning the PM that she needed “a clear plan with credible political backing” if she wanted the delay to avert no deal on Friday.

More from our Europe correspondent Jon Stone:

Lizzy Buchan10 April 2019 08:22

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I don't want to see a delay for up to a year.

"But, the key with any delay is we are able to terminate it once we ratify in order that we can then get on and get a deal through parliament, ratify that agreement and leave the EU.

"And I think that is what the EU leaders want, it is what the prime minister wants."

Asked if the EU was now in control of the situation, Mr Barclay said: "That is a consequence of parliament, not the government.

"The government has agreed a deal with the EU. It is parliament that has forced this on the government."

On talks with Labour, Mr Barclay said: "If they fail, the PM has said that we will come back to parliament and look at how we then get clarity on a vote.

"One of the challenges there will be is how we have a stable majority to pass the legislation that would follow that vote.

"But, we would come back to parliament and seek to get a consensus on the various options."

Lizzy Buchan10 April 2019 08:37

Stephen Barclay also echoed concerns from international trade secretary Liam Fox about joining a permanent customs union with the EU. Labour has been pushing for an agreement on customs in talks with No10.

But Mr Barclay told Today: "I don't think a permanent customs union is a good way forward.

"We have actually negotiated something better in the political declaration."

Here's our piece on Dr Fox's concerns from yesterday:

Lizzy Buchan10 April 2019 08:53

Interested in the customs conundrum?

Read our explainer here:

Lizzy Buchan10 April 2019 09:13

Earlier, Austria's foreign minister said that she believed the EU would agree an extension but there would be "a lot of conditions".

Karin Kneissl told Today: "In principle, I'm of the impression that this is somehow settled.

"But, still, I assume that a lot of conditions might be attached."

Lizzy Buchan10 April 2019 09:28

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have branded Theresa May's bid for a Brexit extension as humiliating and embarrassing.

Party leader Arlene Foster and Westminster leader Nigel Dodds both accused Ms May of "begging" European leaders for help to break the impasse.

Lizzy Buchan10 April 2019 09:41

The UK is due to leave the EU on Friday if Theresa May is not granted an extension at the emergency summit today.

Let's look at how the week will pan out:

- Wednesday April 10

After Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday afternoon, Ms May will head to Brussels for an emergency meeting of the European Council.

She will ask the leaders of the 27 remaining EU nations to grant her an extension of Article 50 to June 30.

European Council president Donald Tusk has suggested EU leaders grant the UK a longer extension of up to one year.

- Thursday April 11

Ms May is likely to outline plans in the wake of the EU summit to MPs.

- Friday April 12

This is when the UK is scheduled to leave the EU after MPs repeatedly rejected the PM's deal.

Lizzy Buchan10 April 2019 09:52

Veteran Brexiteer Bill Cash has written to European Council president Donald Tusk, warning that a long delay to Brexit could be challenged in court.

Lizzy Buchan10 April 2019 10:08

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