The European Union has expressed support for a potential extension of Article 50, suggesting the British Government could use the extra time to bring together MPs behind the Brexit divorce deal Theresa May proposed. When asked how long the extension could be, Michael Portillo predicted Brussels will provide Mrs May with an extra two years, and exploit that time to ensure the UK does not leave the bloc. Mr Portillo told BBC This Week: "The duration is two years and the purpose is to thwart Brexit.
"Most people in the EU would rather that Britain did not leave than it did leave. Mrs May’s deal is not attractive to them.
"What they’d rather have is have Britain go on paying its contribution and have a fine example created for anyone else who’s thinking of leaving."
Mr Portillo, who served as Tory MP for Kensington and Chelsea between 1999 and 2005, also dismissed suggestions claiming the EU could give into demands for further concessions on the controversial Irish backstop to secure a deal before the Brexit deadline set for March 29.
He continued: "There won’t be any worthwhile concession from the European Union.
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Brexit news: Portillo predicted the EU will try to keep Britain in for an extra two years (Image: BBC)
"They weren’t thinking of any in the first place but now that the House of Commons will vote against no deal, and will vote for an extension of Article 50 – in other words, Britain getting stuck in limbo in the European Union – any reason the EU had to make any concession has disappeared."
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