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MPs cheer as they are given a 12-day Easter holiday after Brexit delay

MPs cheered and laughed today as Parliament announced they can all go on holiday for Easter now Brexit is delayed - hours after Donald Tusk urged them: 'Don't waste this time'.

Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom also grinned as she announced a 12-day break starting at the end of today until Tuesday, April 23. 

Theresa May had asked MPs to cancel their holidays in case she needed them to vote this week and next week.

But after EU leaders imposed a Halloween Brexit extension on Britain to give them time to agree a deal, MPs were told they can have a break.

The decision has caused fury with droves of critics taking to social media to vent their anger at the cheering, and the long break. 

European Council President Donald Tusk addressed MPs directly last night not to 'waste this time' as Theresa May was granted a flexible six month extension to Brexit.

Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom smiles as she announces a 12-day break for MPs starting at the end of today until Tuesday, April 23 after Brexit was delayed

EU leaders agreed to delay the UK's departure until October 31 at a crunch summit tonight and spoke at a joint press conference with Jean-Claude Juncker in the early hours of Thursday morning. 

'Please don't waste this time,' Tusk told a news conference after eight hours of discussions.

Mr Tusk also revealed that he hopes Britain tears up Brexit.

Speaking after last night's summit he said: 'Maybe we can avoid the UK leaving the EU. This is obviously not my role — but it's my personal, quiet dream';  

Tusk said Britain still had all the options on Brexit available during the extension, from approving the stalled divorce deal, to changing its leave strategy to cancelling the departure altogether.

European Union Council President Donald Tusk speaks to the press after a special EU summit on Brexit

European Union Council President Donald Tusk speaks to the press after a special EU summit on Brexit

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers a press conference following a European Council meeting on Brexit

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers a press conference following a European Council meeting on Brexit

European Union Council President Donald Tusk urged Britain not to 'waste' the extension while European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was among those who smacked down Macron over his wish to punish Britain

Theresa May leaves the European Council meeting after being given a Halloween Brexit extension and MPs at home are plotting to force her out of the door

Theresa May leaves the European Council meeting after being given a Halloween Brexit extension and MPs at home are plotting to force her out of the door

Theresa May leaves the European Council meeting after being given a Halloween Brexit extension and MPs at home are plotting to force her out of the door 

Tusk said: 'Tonight the European Council decided to grant the United Kingdom a flexible extension of the Article 50 period until October 31.

'This means an additional six months for the UK. During this time, the course of action will be entirely in the UK's hands.

'It can still ratify the withdrawal agreement, in which case the extension will be terminated.

'It can also reconsider the whole Brexit strategy. That might lead to changes in the political declaration, but not in the withdrawal agreement.

'Until the end of this period, the UK will also have the possibility to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit altogether.'

Meanwhile EU President Jean-Claude Juncker lamented how the public thought the EU only talked 'Brexit, Brexit, Brexit' and insisted the time had come to refocus on other EU business, such as a deal the bloc signed with China last week that went under-reported, to his frustration.  

Last night Mrs May gave a one-hour presentation setting out her case for an extension to June 30, with a break clause allowing the UK to leave as soon as her Withdrawal Agreement was ratified.

But she had to leave the EU27 to discuss the UK's future in her absence over a dinner of scallop soup and loin of cod. It took five hours of wrangling before she was summoned back from the residence of UK ambassador Sir Tim Barrow for her agreement to be sought.

The extension to the autumn will fuel demands from angry Tory backbenchers for Mrs May to resign and hand over to a new leader.

But senior British sources indicated that the PM intends to stand by her promise to the party's backbench 1922 Committee to stand down once the first phase of Brexit negotiations are complete.

A Halloween Brexit would mean the second phase - dealing with the future UK/EU trade and security relationship - would not get under way until late in the autumn.

Theresa May leaves the European Council meeting after being given a Halloween Brexit extension and MPs at home are plotting to force her out of the door

Theresa May leaves the European Council meeting after being given a Halloween Brexit extension and MPs at home are plotting to force her out of the door

Theresa May leaves the European Council meeting after being given a Halloween Brexit extension and MPs at home are plotting to force her out of the door 

Labour MP Mary Creagh, a supporter of the People's Vote campaign for a second referendum, said: 'People across the UK will be relieved at this sensible extension.

'Parliament must agree tomorrow and MPs must move swiftly to break the Brexit deadlock with a confirmatory ballot on the PM's deal.'

Sarah Wollaston, of The Independent Group, said an October 31 extension would provide just enough time to authorise and prepare for a referendum, though Parliament would have to move 'quickly and decisively' to do it.

Labour's Jeremy Corbyn welcomed comments from Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar suggesting he is ready to contemplate a role for the UK in helping decide EU trade policies if it remains in a customs union after Brexit.

Mr Varadkar said it would be in the UK's interests to remain within the European trading bloc.

And he added: 'It's also in our interest to have the UK to be in our bloc and I think we would be generous in understanding that the UK couldn't be a silent partner and would have to have a say in decisions being made.'

A customs union arrangement with a British say on trade deals is a central plank of Labour's plan for Brexit.

Mr Corbyn responded with a tweet: 'The Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has confirmed this evening that Labour's alternative plan for a new customs union with a UK say on future trade deals is credible and deliverable.'

 

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