Theresa May is facing a backlash from Brexiteers for indicating the UK could extend the Brexit transition period to the end of 2021.
EU officials said the prime minister had suggested she was “ready to consider” extending Britain’s transition out of the European Union for a further year to allow more time to resolve the impasse over the problem of the Irish border.
Speaking to the BBC on Thursday, the prime minister said she hoped that no extension would be needed but acknowledged that it may be necessary to lengthen the transition period by a “matter of months.”
Doing so would lengthen the time available to agree a future trade deal with the EU as well as give more time to prevent a hard border with Northern Ireland. However, it would come at both a political and financial cost of up to £10 billion in additional EU fees.
Staunch Conservative Brexiteer Nadine Dorries urged MPs to oust May as Conservative party leader and prime minister if she accepts a longer transition period.
“It’s time to stand aside and let someone who can negotiate get on with it and deliver. I fully support David Davis as an interim leader. I’ve done my bit. It’s time for my colleagues to do theirs,” she tweeted.
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