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UK might have to hold European Parliament elections: Brexit minister

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Stephen Barclay speaks in the Parliament in London, Britain April 3, 2019, in this screen grab taken from video. Reuters TV via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Brexit minister said he could not rule out the possibility of the country taking part in next month’s elections for the European Parliament, despite the damage that could inflict on the British political system.

“To have European parliamentary elections three years after the country voted to leave would be damaging to our politics as a whole,” Stephen Barclay told parliament on Thursday.

But such a prospect could not be ruled out, he said.

“If we are a member of the European Union, then under treaty law we will be required to have European parliamentary elections,” Barclay said.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said she does not want Britain to take part in the elections but that might happen if she has to extend Brexit beyond its latest scheduled date of April 12.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper and Andy Bruce; Writing by William Schomberg. Editing by Andrew MacAskill