Brexit: Britain asks Europe for more time amid chaotic negotiations
The request comes as Donald Trump Jr. says Theresa May "should have listened to my father" during negotiations.
British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Union Council President Donald Tusk during the extraordinary EU leaders summit to finalise and formalise the Brexit agreement in Brussels, Belgium.Olivier Hoslet / Reuters
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The prime minister is perhaps weaker than she's ever been, squeezed by forces across the political spectrum — although mostly from within her own ruling Conservative Party — and with everyone baying for the Brexit outcome they favor most.
Donald Trump Jr. added to the chorus of criticism late Tuesday, reiterating his father's claims that May would have succeeded had she listened to President Donald Trump.
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"Mrs. May ignored advice from my father, and ultimately, a process that should have taken only a few short months has become a yearslong stalemate, leaving the British people in limbo," the president's eldest son wrote in Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Last year, May revealed that Trump had advised her not to negotiate but rather to "sue" the E.U.
The day before a pivotal E.U. summit Thursday, May wrote to European Council President Donald Tusk to ask for an extension of three months to the Brexit deadline, which is currently set at 11 p.m. March 29.
But the United Kingdom has failed to reach an agreement 33 months after voting to leave the E.U. And British lawmakers still cannot seem to agree on a way forward.
It's also not certain that the other 27 countries in the E.U. will approve a new deal.
On Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Europe had done as much as possible to accommodate the U.K., and that the deal already agreed with May would not be renegotiated.
If Brexit gets delayed, "then we are, I am sorry to say, in the hands of God," Juncker told Germany's Deutschlandfunk radio. "And I think even God sometimes reaches a limit to his patience."
If there is no agreement by the exit date, Britain would crash out of Europe with a "no-deal Brexit." Although it has some supporters, this scenario would be an unprecedented act of economic self-harm, according to most experts.
May also told Parliament on Thursday that she would seek to hold a third vote on her deal. She would likely need to tweak her proposal after being told earlier this week that, because of historic precedent dating back to 1604, she was not allowed to ask lawmakers to keep voting again and again on the same thing.
Alexander Smith is a senior reporter for NBC News Digital based in London.