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

Theft of dog-outfits ‘a huge hit’ to South Surrey mother-daughter business

Kathy Neumeyer says 100-plus dog sweaters and raincoats were nicked from her SUV last week

Work-in-progress Surrey Eagles starting ‘to gel together’

Junior hockey team brass seeing improvements as BC Hockey League season passes quarter poll

Federal NDP may support B.C. with major projects, Carole James says

SkyTrain Surrey extension, Massey Tunnel need Ottawa’s help

Player-of-year Seumanutafa leads UBC to women’s rugby title

Semiahmoo grads help Thunderbirds to first-ever Canada West rugby title

Diwali in Surrey: ‘Festival of light’ celebrations at several halls, a library, other venues

This year Diwali is on Sunday, Oct. 27, but Surrey-area events are held over a two-week period

Raptors Bling: NBA champions receive their rings in pre-game ceremony

There are over 650 diamonds — at a weight of 14 carats — in the 14-karat yellow gold ring

15 Canadian youths to sue Ottawa for not acting on climate change

They say young people will be more affected than other groups

VIDEO: Man in his 20s in hospital following shooting in Abbotsford

Incident takes place Tuesday night in 31700 block of South Fraser Way

Faster response may have prevented fatal outcome at B.C. trampoline park

Coroner’s report rules Greater Victoria father Jay Greenwood’s death accidental

Police watchdog investigates early morning fatality in Langley

Man died at scene following struggle with RCMP officers

Homicide team deployed in Coquitlam

Integrated Homicide Investigative Team investigating near Seaton Avenue, Ducklow Street

100-pound pumpkin stolen a second time from B.C. business

According to security footage, a man and woman took the pumpkin on Oct. 20 at 8:20 p.m.

Greta Thunberg declines invitation to Victoria due to time, not ferry emissions

Thunberg confirmed that she will be joining a climate strike at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Friday

‘Havoc and chaos:’ Alberta separatist group gains support as Liberals re-elected

The idea is getting interest from people in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and parts of British Columbia

Most Read

l -->