In an unexpected turn, the EU has told the UK that unless it ratifies its ‘final chance’ deal negotiated between the two, it will force the UK out on 12 April.
While many commentators speculated the Brexit deadline would be extended once again, the EU has said it is only prepared to extend to 22 May if May can get the existing deal passed.
If the vote was to fail, as it did last week, Brexit would occur on 12 April meaning the UK would crash out of the EU with no deal in place.
The date of the deadlines is no coincidence.
Elections for EU Parliament are to take place on 23 May, an event that Britons having voted to leave the EU, don’t want to be dragged into.
“What the decision today underlines is the importance of the House of Commons passing a Brexit deal next week so that we can bring an end to the uncertainty and leave in a smooth and orderly manner,” British PM Theresa May said immediately after the announcement.
It comes as one of the leading architects of the Brexit referendum, which sent the United Kingdom into political limbo in 2016, has criticised the British Prime Minister for mishandling negotiations.
Craig Oliver, director of politics and communication for former PM David Cameron who called the referendum, lashed out at May, Cameron’s successor.
“There has been a huge number of mistakes. She’s tried to drive through her version of Brexit at a time when she doesn’t have a majority and what was needed was a different kind of thinking, a way of reaching out to Parliament,” Oliver told Your Money presenter Leanne Jones in an exclusive interview.
“We’re not used to doing that in the UK, we’re not used to having a situation where you reach out to other political parties but this is an extraordinary situation and I think she needed to do that,” he explained.
After a slim majority voted to leave the EU, Cameron was forced to step down as he promised through the campaign, a move Oliver defends.
“Britain had had this situation coming for a very long time. The Conservative Party had a lot of people in it that were driving for it, pushing for it incredibly hard. It meant there was a massive boulder in the road of British politics that until you moved it off the road and sorted it, nothing was ever going to get done,” Oliver said.
Watch the full interview with Craig Oliver above.