Macron: If May’s Brexit Deal Rejected Again ‘It Will Be a No-Deal, for Sure’

France's President Emmanuel Macron speaks to the press as he arrives on March 21, 2019 in Brussels on the first day of an EU summit focused on Brexit. - European Union leaders meet in Brussels on March 21 and 22, for the last EU summit before Britain's scheduled exit of …
LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has made a clean, no deal Brexit more likely after reiterating instructions from the European Council that a short extension will not be granted unless British parliamentarians vote for May’s deal.

Addressing media in English on Thursday afternoon, the French President said, “I do respect the vote of the British people.

“We do respect what the prime minister and the parliament are [doing]. But we have to be clear: we can discuss and agree an extension if this is a technical extension in case of a ‘yes’ vote on the agreement we have negotiated for two years.

“In case of no vote or a no, I mean… directly, it will guide everybody to a no-deal, for sure.”

While Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at the start of the EU summit in Brussels, “I want to put pressure on the British parliament in particular,” and would support more time on condition that MPs say yes to the Brexit deal that May concluded with Brussels in November 2018.

Prime Minister Theresa May travelled to Brussels today to lobby the European Council — the leaders of the EU27 nations — to unanimously back her request for an extension after her deal was voted down for a second time this month and the House of Commons voted to rule out no deal.

European Council President Donald Tusk told the UK on Wednesday that he would advise the EU27 to back the “short” extension of Article 50 to June 30th only on condition of the House of Commons passing Prime Minister May’s Withdrawal Agreement; however, that appears largely unlikely given the deal was voted down by 230 in January and 149 in March.

France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian gave similar instructions yesterday with Spain, Belgium, and possibly Italy reportedly considering the same condition.

On Wednesday night, Mrs May called a late evening public address where she announced she would continue to press on the House of Commons to pass her deal a third time, postponing Brexit Day.

Though she and the Remainer-dominated parliament have ruled out a no-deal exit, it remains the legal default should the UK not agree a deal with the EU. Government plans for managing a clean break could be rolled out on Monday if May returns from Brussels without her extension.

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