Angela Merkel says EU WILL approve PM's short Brexit delay - but only if her deal is passed

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

Theresa May grudgingly asked for an extension to Brexit yesterday and EU leaders are now agreeing on how it will play out.

After European Council president Donald Tusk said that the delay would be granted as long as Parliament approved Mrs May’s deal, German chancellor Angela Merkel has also agreed to the caveat.

Mrs Merkel told Germany’s parliament in Berlin on Thursday that “we can comply in principle with this request if we were to have a positive vote next week on the withdrawal documents in the British Parliament”.

Angela Merkel believes the EU will grant Theresa May a short Brexit delay next week (Getty)

However, if the deal is not passed, Mrs Merkel said another EU summit may be needed.

While the conditions seem to have re-energised no-deal enthusiasts, Mrs Merkel also said that she will work “until the last hour” to try and ensure that Britain does not leave the European Union without a deal.

With Britain currently scheduled to leave next week with or without a deal, Mrs Merkel said Germany has put “the most important emergency measures” in place to deal with a no-deal Brexit.

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But she added: “We will, despite these measures we have taken, work until the last day – I will say until the last hour – to ensure that this emergency planning doesn’t come into effect.”

She added: “We will do everything in the remaining, admittedly few, days to achieve an orderly, joint solution.”

Mrs Merkel’s comments come as Mrs Mayf aces a backlash from MPs as she heads to Brussels to appeal to EU leaders to grant her a delay to Brexit.

Mrs Merkel has pledged to do everything to avoid a no-deal Brexit (Getty)
Mrs May attacked MPs for not implementing the result of the EU referendum (Getty)

The Prime Minister’s Downing Street statement, in which she blamed MPs for failing to implement the result of the 2016 EU referendum and told frustrated voters “I am on your side”, was described as a “low blow” by one former Tory minister.

But Jeremy Corbyn was also under fire after pulling out of a meeting between Mrs May and opposition party leaders because party defectors who are now members of the Independent Group turned up.

The behaviour of the Labour leader, who was also heading to Brussels on Thursday to hold talks with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, was described by one of their number – Chuka Umunna – as “juvenile” at a time of national crisis.

Mrs May is heading to Brussels to seek more time to sort Brexit (Getty)
The key dates in the Article 50 extension (PA)

With just eight days before the UK is due to leave the EU, the Prime Minister will make the case for extending the Article 50 withdrawal process to June 30 at a Brussels summit on Thursday.

Mrs May formally made the request for an extension to June 30 in a letter to Mr Tusk on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister had previously indicated she would seek a longer delay after her deal went down to a 149-vote defeat in last week’s second “meaningful vote”.

Jeremy Corbyn is under fire after pulling out of a meeting between Mrs May and opposition party leaders because members of the Independent Group turned up (Getty)

However, she reportedly backed down after the threat of Cabinet resignations by Brexiteer ministers, who feared it could spell the end of their hopes of leaving the EU.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Britain would be faced with three options if Mrs May’s deal is defeated again next week: revoke Article 50; leave without a deal; or, he said, a longer extension could be granted at an emergency EU summit, but with “onerous conditions”.

He also defended the Prime Minister’s statement, saying she was under “extraordinary pressure” and feels a “sense of frustration” – and said MPs have a “special responsibility” in a hung Parliament.