May seeks fresh Brexit delay, Labour talks


She said the government would abide by a decision of Parliament on the path for Brexit. "Though it remains to be seen if sub-contracting out the future of Brexit to (Labour Party leader) Jeremy Corbyn, someone whom the Conservatives have demonized for four years, will end happily", the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said in a statement following May's change of strategy. "What she's done by announcing this is to seize back control of the process", he said. The British pound rose on the news.

A jogger gives the middle finger to a pro-Brexit demonstrator outside the Houses of Parliament in London on March 29, 2019.

After a marathon seven-hour cabinet meeting at Downing Street, and 10 days before the United Kingdom is scheduled to crash out of the European Union without a deal, Theresa May has unveiled an updated Brexit plan.

"This division can not drag on", she said in a speech to the nation. "And it requires national unity to deliver the national interest", May said in a televised address.

"The aim of these measures is to protect the EU's interest, not to negotiate mini deals with the United Kingdom".

In a brief TV statement, May offered to hold talks with Corbyn to seek a Brexit deal "to break the logjam".

The BBC's John Pienaar said Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet had considered plans to "ramp up" no-deal Brexit preparations and a snap general election had also been discussed.

"I recognise my responsibility to represent the people who supported Labour in the last election and the people who didn't support Labour, but nevertheless want certainty and security for their own future", Mr Corbyn told the Press Association.

They are trying to come up with a solution as Remainer MPs launch a new plot to stop a No Deal Brexit starting tomorrow - and following a warning from the country's top civil servant that crashing out of the European Union could push food prices up by 10 per cent and plunge Britain into a recession.

A Brexit delay would help Britain but carried "significant risks" for the European Union itself - and would thus need "a strong justification", he said.

If it happens and the EU agrees - both remain to be seen - a compromise deal would be put to next week's European council summit, paving the way for departure on 22 May, rather than 12 April, as now scheduled.

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May said if she and Corbyn could not agree a way forward she would present "a number of options for the future relationship that we could put to the house in a series of votes to determine which course to pursue".

Barring that, Parliament could try to take drastic action such as toppling the government or legislating to force it to avoid "no-deal" - though these are risky and tricky options.

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Tuesday a no-deal Brexit is "very likely" and increasingly so by the day after the House of Commons rejected all the alternative solutions to Theresa May's deal.

"We are now in a really risky situation with a serious and growing risk of no-deal in 10 days' time", said opposition Labour lawmaker Yvette Cooper, who has proposed the legislation alongside eleven others from several political parties. "I don't want to set any limits, one way or the other, ahead of those meetings".

May has summoned her Cabinet for a marathon session as the government tries to find a way out of the crisis.

Mr Varadkar's problem is similar to Mrs May's: in a no-deal Brexit there will either have to be a customs border on the island of Ireland, or between Ireland and the EU.

"The lack of a deal means a lack of faith, a lack of a deal means a rupture in confidence between us", he said.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said leaving the bloc without a deal was "not the responsible thing for a government to do".

May made leaving the customs union a red line during two years of talks with the EU.

"If the United Kingdom is not capable, nearly three years after the referendum, of coming forward with a solution that is supported by a majority, it would have effectively chosen a no-deal exit on its own", French President Emmanuel Macron said.