Prime Minister Theresa May admitted Tuesday for the first time that Brexit could be delayed, as the two main parties in Parliament struggle over how — or even if — Britain should leave the European Union.

May told lawmakers that if they reject her Brexit withdrawal agreement again next month, they will have an opportunity to vote on whether to ask the E.U. to delay Brexit beyond the scheduled March 29 departure date.

May said that if such an extension were triggered, the E.U. would probably grant it only once, and the delay should be “short and limited.” She suggested that an extension until June would be best, so Britain would not have to take part in the next round of elections for the European Parliament.

This was a major concession by May, who has long insisted that her Brexit deal was the best and only one on offer and that it would be reckless to delay leaving the E.U.

Her acceptance of a possible extension indicates how much she and her weak government have ceded control over Brexit to an assertive but divided Parliament. 

May has struggled to win approval for the withdrawal agreement she negotiated with the E.U. Parliament overwhelmingly rejected her deallast month.


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