UK takes legal steps needed for European Parliament elections

Conservative MP Mark Francois is confronted by anti-Brexit protester Steve Bray outside the Houses of Parliament, as Brexit uncertainty continues, in London, Britain April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government said on Monday it had taken the necessary steps required by law to participate in European Parliament elections in May, but that this did not mean it was inevitable Britain would take part.

Britain is due to leave the EU on Friday, but Prime Minister Theresa May has asked the EU for a further delay to Britain’s exit date while she seeks to reach a compromise with the opposition Labour Party in order to get her Brexit deal passed.

“As a responsible government today we have taken the necessary steps required by law should we have to participate,” a government spokesman said in a statement.

“It does not make these elections inevitable, as leaving the EU before the date of election automatically removes our obligation to take part.”

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James, editing by David Milliken