May tries to avoid second referendum by requesting June 30 extension

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The prime minister says she is still hopeful of reaching a compromise agreement in the United Kingdom parliament so Britain can leave the European Union before the elections.

The Brexit vote exposed deep fractures in British society, though the crisis it triggered has also shown a political system in dire need of reform.

"The important thing now is that in any extension that we get from the European Union, we have an absolute clarity that as soon as we've done the deal, we are able to bring that extension to an end", Hammond told ITV.

One EU diplomat said that there was rising concern among member states that they would not get "sincere co-operation" from Britain, which could hurt how the bloc functions.

Her decision sparked widespread fury among Tory Brexiteers who said it would be "crazy" for people to be asked to elect a fresh batch of MEPs nearly three years after voting to leave the EU.

If the Cooper Bill is passed, it would create the danger of an "accidental no-deal Brexit" on April 12, Downing Street has warned.

There are concerns that such an abrupt exit without a deal could lead to economic slowdown and a breakdown in food and medical supplies as border checks and tariffs are added overnight.

Speaking during a visit to Paris on Tuesday by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, a gloomy-sounding Macron warned: "The EU can not be held hostage on a long-term basis to the resolution of a political crisis in the United Kingdom". It is the first country to try to leave the bloc, and the formal "Article 50" exit procedure has never been tested before.

After more than two years of tortuous discussions about the minutiae of the separation, European Union leaders are tired of London's failure to agree its own divorce and patience is wearing thin.

The Europeans would prefer that Britain don't take part in the May 23-26 EU elections if it is going to leave. April 12 is the last day for Britain to signal whether it will field candidates.

She added that she remained hopeful that the agreement could still be approved in time for the U.K.to cancel its participation in the elections.

May's team is now holding negotiations with leaders from Britain's main opposition Labour Party in a bid to secure enough votes to push through her deal on a fourth attempt. The EU has said that if the British parliament did not approve the withdrawal agreement by April 12, the United Kingdom would have to participate in the European elections. Ms.

The talks do not seem to be advancing.

Reacting to the report, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said a longer delay to the UK's departure from the bloc might be favourable.

Hammond said he hoped talks with the opposition Labour Party would very quickly allow an understanding of whether a cross-party deal was viable.

If the talks don't work, May plans a series of votes in Parliament to see if a majority-backed plan can emerge. There is fierce opposition from Brexit backers in the Conservative Party to these options.

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