Mr Macron said the EU should not grant a delay to Brexit unless Mrs May submits a new plan to the bloc. In a statement, the young French leader also accused the UK of “procrastinating”. He raged: “Playing for time just for the sake of playing for time would not constitute a project or strategy. “Now is not the time for procrastinating.”
Paris is keen for the EU to move on from the subject of Brexit and onto a Brussels reform, the Guardian reports.
Mr Macron’s words echo a shock intervention by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, who demanded Mrs May make “significant” changes to her deal to avoid him blocking her third meaningful vote.
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Emmanuel Macron has sensationally accused Britain of “playing for time”
7pm update: Brexiteers make secret bid to EU to veto Article 50 delay
Backbench Eurosceptic Tory MPs made a secret bid to the EU to block a Brexit delay at this week’s Brussels summit.
The plot, led by MPs Daniel Kawczynski, Craig Mackinlay and former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson was discussed at an ERG meeting, the Daily Telegraph reports.
One of the MPs said: “I am not sure how successful it has been but we tried. It was a thought, it was worth pursuing, worth having a chat. It was a reach-out.
Mr Kawczynski added that he had “numerous round of conversations and discussions with senior members of the Polish government”.
He said: “I have been reaching out to friends in the Polish government over the telephone, in private meetings, they have been here to meet me in London and I have been there in Warsaw.
“I have tried to urge them it is neither in their interests not in the interests of the United Kingdom for a protracted extension. We have been lobbying very very extensively.”
6.30pm update: UK to pay £500m health costs of retired Britons in EU in event of no deal
The UK could pay £500 million towards the health costs of retired British expats in Europe, the Government announced.
Health minister Stephen Hammond said the proposal would last for 12 months after Brexit and would happen should the UK leave without a deal.
He said in a statement: “The UK government has committed to fund healthcare for UK nationals (and others for whom the UK is responsible) who have applied for, or are undergoing, treatments in the EU prior to and on exit day, for up to one year, to protect the most vulnerable.”
6pm update: Student calls for Brexit campaign to focus on young Leavers – ‘Brexiteers dying off’
Student Brexiteer Robert Langley said he feels young Leave supporters have been ignored as he called on pro-Brexit campaigns to start appealing to young people across the UK as the Brexit stalemate continues.
The young Brexit-supporter said he “can’t blame” Leave campaigns for focussing on the majority of Leave voters in Britain, with 60 percent of those over 65 supporting Brexit in the 2016 referendum.
Mr Langley, who founded Students for Brexit, told Express.co.uk: “I think that the exact knowledge that all the Leavers are dying off. And I know it is very disrespectful but it is true. So we need to start converting more of the young people.
“So now that we have set up we are working with Leave Means Leave and the other Leave campaigns for advice and things like that.
“So, I think now that they have realised that we do exist, efforts are being made now to try and get something of it all.”
5pm update: Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney says Britain would need to provide a “very persuasive plan” for Brexit delay
Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Mr Coveney said: “The disruptive effect of Brexit for another nine months or another whatever period of time is something that I think people will need convincing on.
“What I mean by that is if there is going to be a request for a long extension of Article 50 by the UK then there will need to be a very persuasive plan to go with that to explain why that’s needed and how they will use the time to conclude the outstanding issues that haven’t been able to be agreed in London in the context of the Brexit process.
“It’s also been very clear that there is absolutely no appetite to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement or the detail of that.”
“If @theresa_may requests an extension before the #EUCO on Thursday, it will be for the 27 leaders to assess the reason and usefulness […] EU leaders will need a concrete plan from the #UK in order to be able to make an informed decision”. @MichelBarnier @ro2019eu #GAC50
— Daniel Ferrie ������������ (@DanielFerrie) March 19, 2019
4.10pm update: Germany mocks Brexit no deal by sending bulk loo roll to Buckingham Palace
A German firm sent thousands of loo roll to Buckingham Palace, mocking a no deal Brexit.
German company Hakle sent 90 16-roll packs to Buckingham Palace in a bid to ensure the Monarch has access to some in case of a Brexit-related shortage.
The bulk was turned away from the Palace due to safety and security fears.
Instead, the company sent the 1,440 rolls of premium paper to Woodcote High School, in Coulsdon, south London, where the worker’s brother Peter Mack works as Deputy Head.
Hakle sent the “spontaneous delivery of relief” of four-ply loo roll last Monday as part of a stunt covered widely in German newspapers.
3.45pm update: EU says it will assess ‘reasons and usefulness’ of Brexit delay
Brussels’ chief negotiator Michel Banrier has said EU leaders will assess “reasons and usefulness” of an extension to Article 50.
He said in a speech at the bloc’s Brussels headquarters that the request will be considered should Prime Minister Theresa May ask for the extension before the EU summit.
He also said now was a “key moment” in Brexit negotiations.
He said: “Extending the uncertainty without a clear plan would add to the economic cost for our businesses but could also incur a political cost for the EU.
“It is for the British Government and Parliament to decide very quickly what the UK wants to do next.”
3.30pm update: Italy Foreign Minister on Brexit – ‘A delay? I would support it’
Italian Eurocrat Enzo Moavero has said he would “support” a Brexit delay.
The Foreign Minister and the EU’s chairman-in-office of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation, said he would welcome talks of a 20-month delay to Britain leaving Brussels after Speaker John Bercow’s shock intervention yesterday.
Mr Moavero said: “When we receive the extension request, we can have a debate within the government to take a decision all together. I must say, however, that my personal opinion favours the delay, either a short one or a longer one.
“There must be a reason for it. Italy has an intense relationship with the United Kingdom, both on the economic level and on the presence of Italians in the UK and of British citizens in Italy. For us, the scenario of a hard Brexit is an undesirable scenario. However, we are ready.”
The delivery by the German firm was turned away from Buckingham Palace
3.15pm update: Yellow Vest protesters storm Attorney General office demanding Brexit
Yellow Vest protesters stormed the Attorney General’s office to “demand Brexit”.
The demonstrators, who also claim their demands for a meeting over the deaths of three teenage boys have been ignored, also made a political statement as they marched to Westminster to demand the UK leave the EU on March 29 as planned.
It was reported they banged on the office door and shouted: “Hello, the little people are here.”
The protest also relates to the case of Jaynesh Chudasama, who was jailed last year over the deaths by dangerous driving of three boys as they walked to a 16th birthday party.
2.54pm update: May ‘absolutely determined’
The Prime Minister has voiced her “absolute determination” that MPs should have another chance to vote on her Brexit deal, despite the bombshell intervention of the Commons Speaker.
During a Cabinet meeting, Mrs May made clear she wanted MPs to have another vote “as soon as possible”.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “What you can see from the Prime Minister and her colleagues is an absolute determination to find a way in which Parliament could vote for the UK to leave the European Union with a deal.
“The Prime Minister has been very clear throughout that she wants that to happen as soon as possible.”
2.36pm update: Falklands to negotiate OWN DEAL with EU after Brexit to regulate fishing – separate to UK
The Falkland Islands has for the first time announced it will negotiate an agreement with the European Union after Brexit to regulate fishing.
The government of the British overseas territory wants to create an “independent” agreement from the one it has with the UK, with 24 Spanish-flag Galician boats worried they will have to leave the fishing area.
Teslyn Barkman, the head of the Department of Natural Resources and the territory’s Brexit preparations, told Penguin News the Falklands will need to negotiate a future relationship with the EU independently of the UK.
2.18pm update: No deal holds NO FEAR for half of voters – Brexit poll
A Brexit poll has found that nearly half of Britons believe the UK would thrive if the nation unshackles itself from the EU without a deal.
he survey found that 46 percent of adults think a Brexit no deal would “briefly cause some uncertainty but ultimately work out OK”, compared with 40 percent who back a Brexit delay by extending Article 50
Brexit news: Tusk arrives in Ireland to meet Leo Varadkar
2.05pm update: Brexiteer fury erupts over May’s letter to EU
Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom is said to have torn into her colleagues saying “this is now a Remain Cabinet, not a Brexit cabinet” as she demanded Britain unshackle itself from the EU without a deal.
Sources said the Cabinet meeting was fuelled by “disagreement” after the Prime Minister said she would write to the EU to ask for a Brexit extension to possibly June 30, with provison of up delay of up to two years.
1.36pm update: Tusk and Varadkar issue joint statement
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and European Council president Donald Tusk have released a joint statement after their meeting in Dublin.
It read: “President Tusk expressed the strong and ongoing solidarity with Ireland of the European Council and European leaders.
“They agreed that we must now see what proposals emerge from London in advance of the European Council meeting in Brussels on Thursday.”
12.51pm update: May is asking for a two-year Brexit extension
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg tweeted: “Cabinet sources say PM is writing letter to EU today asking for extension – frustration that she is going to ask for end date of June 30th, with proviso of up delay of up to 2 years.”
12.14pm update: EU hold off on decisions about Brexit delay
Belgium Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said EU leaders meeting in Brussels later this week could hold off from making any final decisions on a potential delay to Brexit depending on what happens in London.
Asked if the summit could make a conditional offer of a delay for Prime Minister Theresa May to take back to Britain before the current leave date on March 29, Mr Reynders said: “It really all depends on what happens there.
“If there is another vote and the deal is approved, it can be a short extension and that’s fine. If there is no move from London, the leaders can also decide to wait,” he said.
“It really depends on what May will say at the summit.”
12.03pm: Ireland welcomes Tusk
Irish premier Leo Varadkar has welcomed Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, to Government Buildings in Dublin.The meeting is to discuss Brexit and other issues on the EU agenda, ahead of the European Council meeting in Brussels later this week.
12.01pm update: Germany threatens UK on Brexit
Michael Roth, the German European affairs minister, demanded Theresa May stop playing games and present “clear and precise proposals” before EU leaders offer her a Brexit delay.
He insisted the “clock in ticking and time is running out” for the British Government to table proposals as the country heads towards a no-deal Brexit in just 10 days.
He said Brussels is not ready to hold more “substance-less, very abstract discussions and negotiations on the Brexit”.
11.57am update: EU issues UK with deadline
The EU Commission said it is up to May to inform Brussels bosses swiftly by Thursday on her next steps
Brexit news: Theresa May’s Brexit deal was delivered a blow by John Bercow
11.44am update: Germany must exit euro – Brexit is disaster
An investment expert has claimed Brexit is a disaster for Germany which could be forced to exit the euro to save itself from becoming a “cash cow” to the EU.
Holger Schmitz, CEO of Schmitz & Partner AG, said the British “should be happy to have turned their backs” on the Brussels club, while for German savers Brexit is a disaster.
He also hit out at EU chiefs for “overlooking the impact of Brexit on the EU’s” strongest economies, which could enable EU member states heavily in debt to “govern undisturbed in the future”, meaning the bloc would instead become a “transfer union”.
11.37am update: Tony Blair faces savage grilling from Piers Morgan
The former Labour leader faced ITV host Piers Morgan who demanded to know why the former prime minister believes Brexit will economically damage Britain after being “wrong about the euro and wrong about Iraq”.
ITV’s Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan revealed Tony Blair, when prime minister, had attempted to convince him as editor of the Daily Mirror in the early 2000s to back Britain joining the euro.
Spain has backed down over its claims on Gibraltar and pledged not to use Britain’s Brexit woes as an excuse to push for concessions.
There were fears Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez would using Brexit as a power grab, with demands to call the Rock a “colony” of the UK in Brexit documents.
But Mr Sanchez’s foreign minister Josep Borell has moved to reassure officials in Gibraltar and London that Madrid has no plans to reopen the debate as part of deal on any Article 50 extension.
Mr Borell said: “Forget about Gibraltar, everything has been settled about Gibraltar. Don’t go back to that.
“We have already agreed on everything that we had to agree on.”
10.37am update: GBP Sterling static against euro after TANKING on John Bercow Brexit warning
The UK currency plunged 0.7 percent against the dollar and 0.8 percent against the euro yesterday afternoon after the Commons Speaker claimed parliamentary precedent will stop the Government from repeatedly putting the same measure before MPs.
Today the pound has barely moved from opening levels and is trading at €1.1693 against the euro at just after 10:00AM UK time.
READ MORE: No deal Brexit tracker
10.05am update: Brussels’ secret plan for final hours of Brexit
Brussels may be planning to have an extraordinary summit at the end of March to decide on their Brexit offer to the UK as late as 24 hours before the official exit date, BBC’s Katya Adler claimed.
Speaking on Brexitcast, the BBC Europe Editor claimed talks in the EU suggest the Brussels bloc might decide on the fate of the UK at the very last minute of the Brexit process. Ms Adler revealed there could be another EU summit on March 28, a mere 24 hours before the official exit date, to decide on whether to grant an Article 50 extension to the UK.
9.43am update: France lays down the law on Brexit
French EU affairs minister Nathalie Loiseau said Britain must come up with a reason for any Brexit delay and a no-deal divorce may well happen.
Speaking before talks with her peer EU ministers in the bloc before the summit of national leaders on Thursday and Friday is expected to decide on any delay to Brexit beyond the current exit date of March 29, Ms Loiseau said: “This uncertainty is unacceptable?”
“We need an initiative, we need something new because if it’s an extension to remain in the same deadlock… How do we get out of this deadlock? – this is a question for the British authorities.”
“It’s a choice to be made by the UK,” she said. “They have said ‘no’ to a no-deal and they have said ‘no’ to a realistic deal. Now they have to change their mind on one or the other.”
“Grant an extension – what for? Time is not a solution, it’s a method. If there is an objective and a strategy and it has to come from London.”
Brexit news: John Bercow blocked Theresa May’s deal going to the Commons for a third vote
9.01am update: The five Brexit options May faces
Bercow’s decision to block a third meaningful vote on the Brexit deal unless the withdrawal agreement is significantly changed has opened up five different scenarios facing Prime Minister Theresa May.
Diplomats in Brussels now want the British Prime Minister to indicate which path she wants her Brexit to take.
First, she must tell them whether she prefers a short-term delay or a long one, which could last for up to two years.
One of her current options is to call for a second referendum, asking Britons to choose between a new deal or remaining in the EU.
8.46am update: Long Brexit delay undermines Britain – Hague
A long delay to Brexit would seriously undermine the whole idea of leaving the European Union and have far-reaching consequences, according to former Tory leader William Hague.
Mr Hague warned such a delay would also mean the UK’s involvement in May’s European Parliament elections and a costly election campaign the country does not even want.
He said political stability would be threatened by a new round of defections from mainstream parties which could spark a general election or make the country even harder to govern.
Writing in his regular column for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Hague said: “A long delay to Brexit could thereby produce the circumstances where a second referendum is held after all, with a long and bitter battle dividing the country.”
Brexit news: Stephen Barclay has hinted ministers will push with May’s Brexit deal
8.33am update: Brexit Secretary vows May will press on with Brexit deal
Stephen Barclay indicated ministers will continue to press on with Theresa May’s Brexit deal despite Speaker John Bercow’s Commons ruling.
Mr Barclay said the Cabinet would give “serious consideration” to Mr Bercow’s decision that the Government cannot bring the deal back for a third “meaningful vote” without substantial changes.
However he said that the Speaker had made clear in earlier rulings that the Commons should not necessarily be bound by precedent.
He told Sky News: “What we need to do is secure the deal.
“What the Speaker has said in his ruling is there needs to be something that is different. You can have the same motion but where the circumstances have changed.
“Obviously that has a difference in terms of how Members of Parliament would vote on a particular motion. So we need to look at the details of the ruling, we need to consider that in the terms of earlier rulings that don’t particularly align with yesterday’s.
“That the fact that a number of Members of Parliament have said that they will change their votes points to the fact that there are things that are different.”