May seeks Brexit breakthrough through talks with Labour

Tusk calls for patience with Britain

British PM Theresa May will ask for another Brexit delay and meanwhile will try to sit down with the opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a last-ditch effort to break the deadlock over Britain’s EU exit, news wires reported. Nearly three years since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU in a shock referendum result, it is still unclear how, when or if it will ever indeed quit the Union.

In a hastily arranged statement from the Downing Street after spending seven hours chairing cabinet meetings on how to plot a way out of the Brexit maze, May said she was seeking another short extension to Brexit beyond 12 April. May’s move offers the prospect of keeping the UK much more closely tied to the EU economically after Brexit.

“I am offering to sit down with the leader of the opposition and to try to agree a plan - that we would both stick to - to ensure that we leave the European Union and that we do so with a deal,” she said. “We will need a further extension of Article 50, one that is as short as possible and which ends when we pass a deal. We need to be clear what such an extension is for - to ensure we leave in a timely and orderly way.”

Corbyn said he would be “very happy” to meet May and that he would set no limits ahead of the talks, while reiterating that his party aimed to keep a customs union with the EU, access for Britain to its single market and protections for workers. He added that he would hold a vote of no-confidence in the government in reserve if any eventual deal still failed to achieve a majority in parliament. “Our responsibility as the opposition is to make sure that we don’t crash out (in the absence of a deal),” he said in a broadcast interview.

Reacting on developments in London, EU Council President Donald Tusk pointed out that the EU leaders should be patient with Britain over its struggle to find majority support in parliament for a deal to exit the bloc. “Even if, after today, we don’t know what the end result will be, let us be patient,” Tusk said on Twitter.

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