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10 April 2019, 12:52 | Vera Richards
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionIndia's elections are the world's biggest democratic exercise
But Mr Tusk, in a letter to the heads of the 27 remaining member states ahead of a crunch summit on Wednesday, said there was "little reason to believe" that the ratification of Mrs May's beleaguered Brexit deal could be completed by the end of June.
"The withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation", Barnier said, adding the EU would be ready to update the accompanying draft declaration on future EU-U.K. ties, should May's talks with the opposition Labour party move towards a customs union. Those negotiations are ongoing.
In Britain, Justice Secretary David Gauke told the BBC it was too early to say whether the talks would be successful but work was continuing to identify a compromise.
With a chaotic exit of Britain from the European Union potentially only days away, EU commissioner Phil Hogan says that the United Kingdom leaving the bloc without a deal in place "is simply insane".
It seems unthinkable that the European Union would agree to such a short extension given that they believe that May can not unite her party, let alone Parliament, and is unlikely to be calling the tune for much longer.
While the Government can offer any new date, it must come to Parliament to set out the length of the extension today.
But because May has already requested a delay, and with no alternative dates chosen to be voted on by lawmakers on Tuesday, the vote was not a major flashpoint in the country's long-running political crisis over how to deliver Brexit.
"We are in a very, very frustrating situation here", said Germany's minister for European affairs Michael Roth, as he and fellow EU officials arrived for Luxembourg talks on the eve of the summit. She will be asking the European Union (EU) member states for an extension of Article 50 until 30 June. The preference in Europe is for a longer extension, either until the end of this year or until the end of March next year.
Earlier over a "working lunch", Mrs May and Ms Merkel had agreed on the importance of an "orderly withdrawal" from the EU, Downing Street said.
British PM asks EU to delay Brexit until June 30
In fact the June 30 date was Theresa May's request of her fellow leaders at last month's European summit. Such a long extension means Britain would be required to hold elections for the European parliament.
He refused to suggest areas where the government could cross its red lines, such as on a customs union, in order to meet Labour's demands and stressed again that the government believed numerous benefits of a customs union were already outlined in May's proposals.
"What I think would be fantastic is if Angela Merkel will try to support a proper UK Brexit by agreeing to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement", said Andrea Leadsom, the government's business manager in the lower house of parliament, the Commons.
May had requested only a short delay to avoid having to take part in European Parliament elections, which are scheduled for May 26, but a longer postponement would mean Britain participating.
EU leaders at a European Council meeting in Brussels, Belgium, June 28, 2018.
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