Emmanuel Macron holds EU back from granting a three-month Brexit extension: reports

PUBLISHED: 14:41 25 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:47 25 October 2019

French President Emmanuel Macron appears to be the only thing holding EU negotiators back from granting a three-month Brexit extension.  Picture: Ugo Amez/Pool/ABACAPRESS.COM

French President Emmanuel Macron appears to be the only thing holding EU negotiators back from granting a three-month Brexit extension. Picture: Ugo Amez/Pool/ABACAPRESS.COM

ABACA/PA Images

French negotiators have been reportedly accused of being "too rigid" and risking an "accidental" no-deal Brexit as the EU 27 leaders discuss how long the Article 50 extension should be.

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Brussels ambassadors have agreed in principle to grant a Brexit extension, with only Emmanuel Macron's negotiators wanting it to be as short as possible.

A European Commission spokesperson said the bloc's discussion will continue in the "coming days".

But it was just Emmanuel Macron's representatives who stopped the bloc from agreeing there and then to extend to January 2020, reported The Express' Brussels correspondent Joe Barnes.

He tweeted that the meeting "ended in 'frustration' with a 26 vs France scenario", and that France is pushing for a "much, much shorter delay".

"Other member states warned that France's approach would amount to interfering in the UK's domestic politics and runs the risk of an 'accidental no-deal Brexit'.

"Several ambassadors told France they are being 'too rigid' with their hardline position," reported Barnes.

In the UK, Macron's impatience with the Brexit deadlock has earned him the unexpected praise of Nigel Farage.

MORE: Nigel Farage calls for a statue of French president Emmanuel Macron

Boris Johnson was forced by parliament to request a Brexit delay until January 31, and with chancellor Sajid Javid having conceded that the Halloween deadline had now slipped away.

It follows the prime minister's offer to MPs of more time to consider his Brexit deal if they agreed to an election on December 12.

But Labour - whose votes will be needed if he is to get the two-thirds majority in the Commons which he requires to go the country - has yet to say what it would do.

Jeremy Corbyn said that - if a January extension is granted - he would support an election provided Johnson makes it "absolutely clear" the UK would not crash out of the bloc.

"I've said all along - take no deal off the table, and we'll have the election," he told ITV's This Morning.

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