Theresa May is expected to meet Jeremy Corbyn later today in an attempt to resolve the Brexit impasse. The Prime Minister made the offer in a statement last night following a seven-hour cabinet meeting. Mrs May said the UK ‘will need a further extension of Article 50 – one that is as short as possible and which ends when we pass a deal.’ Mr Corbyn said he was ‘very happy’ to take part in the talks.
The meeting could pave the way forward for a softer Brexit. The Labour Party has consistently pressed for a customs union and close alignment with the EU’s Single Market. However, it could be very difficult for the leaders to reach a consensus. If the two leaders do not agree on the next steps, Mrs May said they could agree ‘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’. Transcripts of the statements from both leaders are included below.
Separately, Yvette Cooper MP will bring forward a bill today which requires the Prime Minister to request an extension of Article 50 beyond 12 April 2019. The intention is to avoid a no-deal situation on 12 April 2019. If passed, the Bill would make it UK law for the Prime Minister to seek an extension. However, all of the remaining 27 EU member states would have to agree to any extension.
MPs will attempt to expedite the passage of the Bill today and hope a similar process is followed in the House of Lords in order for the Bill to become law by the end of the week. However, there is no guarantee the Bill will pass. The wording of the Bill can be viewed here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2017-2019/0371/19371.pdf.