May’s Plan for Short Brexit Delay Could Force MPs to Back Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Theresa May’s decision to seek a short Brexit extension could set Parliament up for an ultimatum that would force opposition Labour Party politicians to choose between leaving the European Union with her deal, or with no deal at all.

It’s a strategy that International Trade Secretary Liam Fox laid out to Cabinet on Tuesday, according to one official.

May has asked the EU to delay Brexit until June 30, but there’s a deadline before that. If the U.K. was going to stay in the European Union for any significant period, it would need to hold European Parliament elections. The deadline to pass legislation for doing that is April 11.

Once that deadline is passed, the EU’s position will be that the U.K. is definitely leaving at the end of whatever extension it has agreed to. That would allow May to put the agreement she negotiated back to Parliament with a simple choice: This deal, or no deal.

At that point, many of those politicians who oppose Brexit might well fold, rather than see the U.K. crash out.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.