March 29, 2019 / 1:56 PM / 6 months ago

If Brexit deal fails Friday, UK has till April 12 to decide - Barnier

European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier attends a news conference with Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw, Poland, March 29, 2019. Slawomir Kaminski/Agencja Gazeta/via REUTERS

WARSAW (Reuters) - Britain will need to tell the European Union what it wants to do on Brexit by April 12 if parliament fails on Friday to back the EU withdrawal treaty, the bloc’s negotiator Michel Barnier said.

In a speech in Warsaw, Barnier made clear that a deadline set by EU leaders last week for Prime Minister Theresa May to pass the withdrawal agreement expired at the end of the day. If it is missed, leaders have told Britain it has until April 12 to propose some other strategy.

The prospect of Britain leaving without a deal to smooth the withdrawal was not the EU’s preferred option, Barnier said, but it was becoming more likely.

Reporting by Alan Charlish; Writing by Alastair Macdonald

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