LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will have to take part in European Parliament elections on May 23 as there is not enough time left to get an exit deal ratified by parliament before then, Prime Minister Theresa May’s de facto deputy said on Tuesday.
May had hoped to avoid taking part in the vote, but so far talks with the opposition Labour Party aimed at finding a way forward on Brexit have not succeeded in breaking the deadlock.
“It is regrettably not going to be possible to finish that process before the date that is legally due for the European parliamentary elections ... So those will now go ahead,” David Lidington, minister for the Cabinet Office, told reporters.
“We will be redoubling our efforts ... to try to make sure that the delay after that is as short as possible. Ideally we would like to be in a situation where those MEPs from the UK never actually take their seats in the European parliament, certainly to get this done and dusted by the summer recess.”
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, editing by Elizabeth Piper