Brussels has pencilled in a year-extension to Article 50 with
It came as Donald Tusk today urged the European Parliament to keep faith with those British voters still hoping for a longer delay or even the reversal of the Brexit decision.
He said: ‘We should be open to a long extension if the UK wishes to rethink its Brexit strategy’.
The Prime Minister must pass her deal by the end of the week for Britain to leave the EU on May 22.
If it doesn’t the country will leave on April 12, but rebel MPs are trying to force through a longer delay and softer Brexit in votes that begin tomorrow.
European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (R) talks with European Council President Donald Tusk today as it emerged they will offer Britain the chance to leave on April Fool’s Day next year
Nigel Farage high fives European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ahead of a debate on the outcome of the latest European Summit on Brexit today
Almost 6million people have signed a petition calling for Article 50 to be revoked and Donald Tusk has said the EU will not ‘abandon’ them
Guy Verhofstadt compares Nigel Farage to cowardly Blackadder Field Marshall
An EU leader today compared Nigel Farage to Blackadder’s lily-livered First World War Field Marshall.
Guy Verhostadt poked fun at the former Ukip leader’s 200-mile March to Leave walk
Mr Verhofstadt said when he saw Mr Farage (picrured today) in the European Parliament today: ‘This is a surprise to me because I thought that he was marching somewhere in Britain.
‘But he is here. A 200-mile march. How many miles have you done, two miles?
‘You remind me more and more of Field Marshall Haig in Blackadder, who was also sitting in the World War One in his office in London. And you are in Strasbourg while your own people are marching through the rain and in the cold’.
Mr Farage hit back: ‘As a former Belgian prime minister I thought you would know that it was Field Marshall Haig in 1914 that saved the Belgian town of Ypres from German domination, who then went on to lead Britain in 1918 in its greatest ever military defeat of Germany on the Western Front.
He added ‘Far from mocking Haig in Belgium, he should be a great hero to you’.
The EU is ready for the extension and will force Britain to accept that this will be April 1 next year, according to the Guardian.
Today European Council President Donald Tusk urged British MPs to remain open to a long postponement of Brexit while Britain rethinks its position, urging them not to ‘betray’ the UK’s pro-Europe voters.
He said: ‘I said that we should be open to a long extension if the UK wishes to rethink its Brexit strategy, which would of course mean the UK’s participation in the European Parliament elections’
‘And then there were voices saying that this would be harmful or inconvenient to some of you. Let me be clear, such thinking is unacceptable’.
He added: ‘You cannot betray the six million people who signed the petition to revoke Article 50, the one million people who marched for a people’s vote or the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the European Union’.
Top Euro MPs launched a scathing personal attack on Theresa May yesterday – with one saying she had no ‘basic human skills’.
Senior figures on the EU Parliament’s influential Brexit Steering Group (BSG) lashed out amid meltdown in Westminster.
But they also gloated that Britain could be heading for a softer Brexit after MPs voted in favour of snatching control from the prime minister.
One leading Euro-MP on the steering group, which last night held talks with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Strasbourg, said the situation in Westminster was proof Mrs May was ‘totally devoid of the basic human skills’ needed for public office.
Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts claimed it also meant she was unable to build ‘bonds of trust’ with MPs, her cabinet and other EU leaders.
Meanwhile Guy Verhofstadt, chair of the (BSG), declared himself ‘very pleased’ at developments which could lead to a closer UK-EU future relationship.
They were speaking at the EU Parliament, sitting in Strasbourg this week, after MPs in Westminster voted in favour of holding ‘indicative votes’ today on options – including reversing Brexit – which Mrs May would then be told to deliver.
An MEP claimed that during her appearance in Brussels on Thursday, Mrs May even managed to upset the Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel, who he described as ‘Mr Nice Guy by definition’. May and Bettel are pictured at the summit
A general view of Anti-Brexit campaigners as they take part in the People’s Vote March in London and wave pro-EU banners
The move was orchestrated by Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin and Labour’s Yvette Cooper.
Mr Verhofstadt yesterday hailed the ‘real Brexit revolt’ which could see MPs vote in favour of a much softer version of Brexit than set out in Mrs May’s deal.
He also praised marchers in London at the weekend who demanded a second referendum and those who have signed a petition calling for Brexit to be reversed.
Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts (file), a member of the European Parliament’s Brexit steering committee, said the Prime Minister had been unable to establish ‘bonds of trust’ with other European leaders
Mr Verhofstadt said: ‘We see for the moment a real Brexit revolt by the people in Britain, the march of this weekend with one million people in London, the petition which has reached more or less 5.7 million signatures.’
Referring to the political declaration part of the Brexit deal, which outlines the future relationship, he added: ‘And I’m very pleased that yesterday evening an amendment, the so-called Letwin amendment, has been adopted because that means that it’s possible now to work in Britain towards a cross-party proposal, a cross-party alliance that could upgrade fundamentally the Political Declaration.’
During the so-called ‘indicative votes’ MPs could vote in favour of the political declaration being changed to create a softer Brexit, either via a permanent customs union or even continued membership of the single market – referred to as ‘Norway-plus’.
Mr Lamberts, who also sits on the BSG, launched the most scathing attack on the prime minister.
He claimed Mrs May’s ‘inability to factor in what other people think’ had fuelled the chaos.
He said: ‘The strategy of running down the clock and scaring people into voting for the Withdrawal Agreement has failed.
‘I hope that indeed in the first stage the parliament will be able to find a majority for an option.
‘Is it Norway plus? Is it a second referendum? I don’t know…after that I hope the government will do what it can to make that option happen.’ He added: ‘One lesson we have learned from Theresa May ‘s attitude is her inability to factor in what others think, her inability to forge bonds of trust in her cabinet…and between her cabinet and the House of Commons obviously, but also within the European Council.’ Mr Lamberts also said that Mrs May had infuriated Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, at a summit last week at which she asked for a delay to Brexit.
He claimed Luxembourg’s premier is known as ‘Mr Nice Guy by definition’ and that it proved Mrs May ‘must be totally devoid of the basic human skills you need to be a political leader’.