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EU Grant A50 Extension

European Union leaders gave Britain a lifeline and opportunity to leave the bloc in an orderly fashion after giving Prime Minister Theresa May two weeks’ reprieve until April 12 before Britain could tumble out without a deal.

Arriving for a second day of a summit dominated by talks over Britain’s departure, Belgium’s prime minister said he hoped for a “rational” decision by British lawmakers to back the withdrawal treaty that May concluded with Brussels.

Seven hours of summit brainstorming on Thursday kept a host of options open for leaders, who say they regret Britain’s decision to leave but are eager to move on from what they increasingly see as a distraction.

A May 22 departure date will apply if parliament rallies behind the British prime minister next week. If it does not, Britain will have until April 12 to offer a new plan or choose to quit the bloc without a treaty.

That date corresponds to the six weeks’ legal notice required for the EU election – which the bloc would insist Britain hold on May 23 if it remains a member. If it does not hold the election, leaders said, the very last date Britain must leave would be June 30, before the new EU parliament convenes.

The details of exactly how and when Britain would leave on or after April 12 are still somewhat vague.

It might leave abruptly at midnight (2200 GMT) on that Friday night. But EU officials said it could also agree a date with the EU to leave later, deal or no deal.

In my opinion there is still no real clarity, as we could leave in May, maybe April, maybe even later as the EU say we can agree a date.

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