Pro-Brexit ministers in Britain are plotting to prevent a long delay

A pro-Brexit demonstrator wearing a yellow vest protests inside the office of Britain's Attorney-General in London.
A pro-Brexit demonstrator wearing a yellow vest protests inside the office of Britain's Attorney-General in London.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) - Pro-Brexit Cabinet ministers are meeting to plan their strategy for stopping Prime Minister Theresa May agreeing to a long delay to Brexit that would involve Britain taking part in European Parliament elections.

The meeting is taking place on Tuesday evening (March 19) in London, in an effort to shape what Mrs May asks the European Union to agree to, people familiar with the matter said.

Mrs May will travel to Brussels on Thursday for a summit of EU leaders, and is expected to write a letter to the bloc first, asking them to extend the Brexit deadline beyond March 29.

The British government is weighing up whether to ask for a long delay of as much as a year or more, or a shorter one, the people said.

Pro-Brexit Tories hate the idea of a long delay because it would mean Britain has to take part in European Parliament elections in May.

That would be seen as a failure to deliver Brexit, potentially unleashing a wave of anti-government euro-scepticism which could split the ruling Conservative party and bring down the government, one of the people said.