Theresa May announces more talks with Jeremy Corbyn after seven-hour cabinet session
- Credit: PA
Theresa May has offered to hold talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree a Brexit plan acceptable to both, which can be put to the House of Commons ahead of the April 10 summit of the European Council.
Speaking in 10 Downing Street after a marathon session of cabinet lasting over seven hours, May said that any further delay to Brexit should be 'as short as possible'.
She said a bill to pave the way for departure would have to be in place by May 22 to ensure the UK did not have to take part in European Parliament elections.
Setting out her plan for talks with Corbyn, May said: 'The ideal outcome of this process would be to agree an approach on a future relationship that delivers on the result of the referendum, that both the leader of the Opposition and I could put to the House for approval and which I could then take to next week's European Council.
'However, if we cannot agree on the single unified approach, then we would instead 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.
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'Crucially, the government stands ready to abide by the decision of the House. But to make this process work, the opposition would need to agree to this too.'
She added added: 'This is a decisive moment in the story of these islands and it will require national unity to deliver the national interest.'
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In an instant response, European Council president Donald Tusk tweeted: 'Even if, after today, we don't know what the end result will be, let us be patient.'
Anna Turley MP, leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign, said: 'Theresa May has failed three times to get her Brexit deal through parliament and force it on the British people. And tonight she has finally begun to face the reality that there must be a longer extension. It is right to look at other forms of Brexit which would off-set at least some of the damage to our economy of her deal.
'But alternative forms of Brexit are still bound to leave millions of voters disappointed or disillusioned because any version of Brexit will break many of the promises made in the last referendum, cause real costs to our economy or to our sovereignty, and continue the chaos of endless negotiations.
'She is now trying to dip Jeremy Corbyn's hands into the mess of Brexit. But a deal based on a backroom pact between the Government and the opposition would simply be a stitch-up that left the people behind.
'Any extension to the Brexit deadline and consideration of other forms of Brexit must be inclusive of all those MPs and voters who say a final deal should be signed off by the people.'