France Demands Britain Leaves the EU 'Within 15 Days'
Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain back French President Emmanuel Macron's Brexit deadline
France is demanding that Britain ties up Brexit and leaves the European Union "within 15 days."
French President Emmanuel Macron has issued the firm deadline as a warning to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the threat of delays lingers.
Belgium, Luxembourg, and Spain are said to support France's timeframe, while Germany and Ireland are among the countries pushing for a three-month delay.
Macron is leading the group of EU rebels who want Britain out of the EU as soon as possible after PM Johnson was forced by MPs to hand control to Brussels.
A decision is expected Friday as EU leaders discuss whether to grant Britain a short or long extension.
The Netherlands is also reportedly drifting toward supporting Macron's rebellion.
A number of other countries, including Germany and Ireland, is more relaxed about European Council President Donald Tusk's proposal of a three-month delay, however.
The threat comes amid reported splits within Mr. Johnson's Cabinet over whether to use the so-called Brextension of three months for a general election or a second attempt to get his Withdrawal Agreement Bill (Wab) through Parliament.
It is thought the Conservative Prime Minister will lay down the gauntlet to the Labour Party's socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn as soon as the EU grants another Brexit extension, a decision expected tomorrow.
Mr. Johnson could put forward motion under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act as early as tonight, according to The Times, leading to a potential election on December 5.
But Mr. Johnson is facing mounting Tory resistance, with some believing his chief adviser Dominic Cummings is driving him towards the polls, whereas the PM might be more inclined to plow on with Brexit.
And Jeremy Corbyn is still dithering over whether to back a pre-Christmas election – as Labour MPs warned him the party would get "smashed" at the polls.
Mr. Corbyn, who turned down the chance of an election three times last month, claimed this month he was "champing at the bit" to go to the polls as soon as a fresh Brexit delay was in place.
But yesterday his spokesman refused to say if Labour would vote for an election next week, even if Brexit has been delayed until the end of January, which rules out the risk of an immediate No Deal.
And sources said more than half of Labour MPs had told the party's whips they would not vote for an election now, even if Mr. Corbyn ordered them to.
Mr. Cummings, Mr. Johnson's chief adviser, is reportedly leading calls to abandon attempts to get the Prime Minister's Brexit deal through Parliament and go for an election.
But Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith is said to be among ministers arguing it is still possible to pass a bill ratifying the agreement, despite Tuesday's defeat for Mr. Johnson's attempt to fast-track it through the Commons.
There are fears among Conservatives that if there is an election before the UK has left the EU, it will play into the hands of Nigel Farage's Brexit Party.
Even if Mr. Johnson does decide to press for an early election there is no guarantee that he will succeed.
Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, he would need a "supermajority" of two-thirds of all MPs to call an election which would require Labour support.