Muscat one of five European leaders against long Brexit extension - Le Monde

Erika Holt
April 14, 2019

But pro-Brexit and pro-EU parties are eager to run in a contest seen by many as a way to express their strongly divergent views on the EU.

"The European elections are going to be fought not just on the machinations of what these MEPs [Members of the European Parliament] might do, but on issues of identity, on issues of anger", he said.

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May was addressing lawmakers just hours after returning from a special summit in Brussels at which the other 27 European Union leaders delayed Britain's scheduled departure from the bloc from this Friday to October 31.

Britons voted to leave the European Union, in June 2016, by 52 percent to 48 percent; British lawmakers can't agree on the direction of Brexit, with views split along the usual party lines.

In his launch speech, Mr Farage said the campaign marked the start of a fightback against a political class which had betrayed the Brexit referendum result.

He said the current political leadership had proved to be weak and "pretty incompetent".

"I never wanted to seek this extension", Mrs May said.

She stressed: "Unsurprisingly many of our European partners share the deep frustration that I know so many of us feel in this house over the current impasse".

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Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay admitted last week that "asking the public to hold elections for an organisation we are meant to have left would damage trust in politics".

"Instead of wasting more time, Labour must make clear to the Tories that the answer to the Brexit deadlock is to put the decision back to the people".

If the talks fail, May says she will let Parliament vote on a variety of Brexit alternatives, including the Government's proposed deal, in hope something can command a majority. Farage said Friday that delays to Brexit were "a willful betrayal of the greatest democratic exercise in the history of this nation".

Annunziata Rees-Mogg was introduced by the former Ukip leader at the party's campaign launch at a factory in Coventry.

He added: "What we've got to do now, through the discussions we are having with the Labour Party, is find a way forward that allows us to find a deal that works for Britain, allows us to deliver Brexit, and allows us to protect the economy and British jobs".

The prime minister, appearing in the Commons after another late night round of negotiations in Brussels on Thursday, was accused of "abject surrender" by Brexiteer MP Sir Bill Cash.

Prime Minister Theresa May has so far failed to get her own Conservative Party behind the Brexit divorce deal she agreed with other European Union leaders previous year, forcing her to ask the bloc for a delay and to start talks with Labour about how to break the impasse in parliament.

Theresa May returned to face her critics after another round of late night diplomacy in Brussels saw the European Union set a Halloween deadline of October 31 for the United Kingdom finally to reach agreement on the terms of its withdrawal.

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