PM May to seek another Brexit delay, will meet Labour's Corbyn
She will meet Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to discuss deal
LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday she would seek another Brexit delay to agree on a European Union (EU) divorce deal with the opposition Labour leader, a last-ditch gambit to break an impasse over Britain's departure that has enraged many in her party.
In a hastily arranged statement from her Downing Street office after seven hours of chairing Cabinet meetings on how to plot a way out of the Brexit maze, Mrs May said she was seeking another short extension to Brexit beyond April 12.
Her move offers the prospect of keeping Britain in a much closer economic relationship with the EU after Brexit - though it could also rip her Conservative Party apart as half her lawmakers want a decisive split from the bloc.
"I am offering to sit down with the leader of the opposition and to try to agree (to) a plan - that we would both stick to - to ensure that we leave the EU and we do so with a deal," she said.
"We will need a further extension of Article 50 (divorce notification), 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."
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would be "very happy" to meet Mrs May and that he would set no limits ahead of the talks, while reiterating his party aimed to keep a customs union with the EU, access for Britain to its single market and protection for workers.
Germany and France called for more clarity from London, warning that without a clear sense of what Britain wanted, it could be heading towards a disorderly Brexit within days.
European Council president Donald Tusk called for patience with London.
Keeping Britain closely tied to the EU after Brexit is anathema to much of the Conservative Party. Many Brexit-backing Conservatives were livid at Mrs May over her overture to Mr Corbyn.
"This is a deeply unsatisfactory approach, it is not in the interests of the country, it fails to deliver on the referendum result and history doesn't bode well for it," Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg, a prominent Brexiteer, told reporters after a meeting of the party's hard-line eurosceptic parliamentary group.
Mr Boris Johnson, the face of the 2016 Brexit campaign, said a compromise with Labour would betray the referendum, asserting that the world's fifth biggest economy could be outside the EU but still subject to EU rules.
"Brexit is becoming soft to the point of disintegration,"said Mr Johnson, who resigned as foreign minister last July. - REUTERS
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