PREPARATIONS must be made for EU elections to avoid the next cliff edge, the FUW has told the Prime Minister.

Farmers' Union of Wales President Glyn Roberts has written to Prime Minister Theresa May warning that preparations should be made for EU parliamentary elections in May to avoid taking options off the table which are in our nations' interest.

The call came following reports that the Prime Minister had written to the EU seeking an extension to the Article 50 period until June 30.

However, details of a leaked internal EU diplomatic memo suggested that the leaders of the 27 member states who must approve any extension period will have to choose either a short extension to before May 23, or a long delay until at least the end of the year.

Mr Roberts’ letter states that while the FUW supports the revocation of Article 50 in order to take full control over the Brexit process, and allow it to take place over a safe and realistic timescale, “if a short delay is agreed by the EU but Parliament again finds itself unable to reach agreement in the weeks leading up to the new deadline, we may have no choice but to leave the EU without an agreement if we have not made the necessary preparations for the European Parliament elections in May”.

Mr Roberts acknowledges that there “may be mechanisms by which to overcome ... (the problems of having to hold an MEP election)... such as rolling over the representation of current MEPs, but given that the EU requires notifying of candidates and arrangements in the coming weeks, we believe it is essential that preparations should be made for a possible European Parliament election in May”.

He went on to say: “Failure to do this is likely to take one or more of the future options available to the UK off the table in the event that a further or longer delay is, later in the year, deemed to be in our nations’ interest.

“While I appreciate that such a decision would be controversial and unpopular amongst some, I would emphasise that vast numbers of businesses and individuals fully appreciate the complexity of withdrawing us from a relationship built up over 46 years, and understand why respecting the outcome of the referendum without inflicting damage on the UK’s economy can only be achieved if Brexit takes place over a safe and realistic timescale.”