EU leaders are to meet for an emergency summit in Brussels to decide whether to offer the UK another delay to Brexit.
Prime Minister Theresa May wants to postpone the date the UK leaves the EU beyond this Friday, until 30 June.
But the EU is expected to offer a longer delay, after European Council President Donald Tusk urged the other 27 leaders to back a flexible extension of up to a year – with conditions.
Mr Tusk added that “neither side should be allowed to feel humiliated”.
Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay said neither he nor the PM wanted to see a longer extension, but said it was a possibility because MPs had not backed Mrs May’s deal.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The reason we have to go back [to the EU] today is not because of the prime minister, but because Parliament once again refused to vote for the withdrawal agreement. It is a consequence of Parliament. Not government, Parliament.”
The UK is currently due to leave the EU at 23:00 BST on Friday, 12 April.
So far, UK MPs have rejected the withdrawal agreement Mrs May reached with other European leaders last year, so she is now asking for the leaving date to be extended.
Every EU member state needs to agree before a delay can be granted.
If no extension is granted, the default position would be for the UK to leave on Friday without a deal.
Mrs May will head to Belgium this afternoon, after her weekly clash with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.
That head-to-head follows five days of talks between the government and Labour officials aimed at breaking the Brexit impasse.