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Theresa May seeks Brexit delay from Merkel and Macron

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The manufacturing sector is particularly sensitive to the threat of no-deal

The German government says British Prime Minister Theresa May will visit Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday in Berlin.

The prime minister will be at an emergency summit on Wednesday when all European Union states will vote on an extension.

Theresa May will travel to Paris and Berlin today for talks with Europe's two most powerful leaders to sound them out ahead of tomorrow's emergency summit in Brussels.

May's ministers at home have been holding talks with the opposition Labour party on the terms of the UK's departure. Those negotiations are ongoing.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Monday he was still waiting for signs of compromise from May and talks have been suspended until the summit in Brussels.

Under the second plan, which kicks in if a deal is not passed by MPs, the European Union leaders could be asked to consider a nine or 12-month extension, until December 31 2019 or March 31 2020. "In the event of a long extension, one year would seem too long for us", they added.

BuzzFeed News said it had seen a memo that is due to be discussed by European Union 27 ambassadors and officials before Wednesday's summit which sets out two proposals for leaders to consider.

Mrs May already wrote to EU Council President Donald Tusk on Friday, requesting an extension of Article 50 to 30 June with the option to bring this forward if a deal is ratified before that date.

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The EU has been clear that it would accept a softer Brexit, but the idea is anathema to eurosceptics in May's party who have helped to defeat May's divorce deal three times this year.

European Council president Donald Tusk has suggested EU leaders grant the United Kingdom a longer extension to Brexit than Theresa May has requested.

EU diplomatic sources I have spoken to suggest the prime minister may have officially asked the EU for a short new extension (until 30 June) as that was politically easier for her back home, whereas she believed and hoped (the theory goes) that EU leaders will insist instead on a flexible long extension that she actually needs.

"Our objective is an orderly withdrawal - no deal will never by the EU's decision".

On Tuesday, members of parliament voted overwhelmingly to approve the extension request, with 420 votes in favour to 110 against.

Additional pressure on the prospect of a further Brexit delay is that European parliamentary elections are due to be held late next month. Discussions with Jeremy Corbyn do not appear to be making any progress with minister Dr Liam Fox warning Mrs May that the customs union with the EU Labour is demanding would be the "worst of both worlds" and EU leaders are growing exhausted of repeated extension requests.

The Labour MP resisted calling for it to take place until it is all finished, but questioned whether or not Britain's consistution is still fit for objective because it did not appear to be holding the prime minister to account.

"Decisiveness and unanimity is essential at the European Council summit of government leaders", stressed Seibert.

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