Theresa May on Brexit: PM vows to work with Jeremy Corbyn

Tuesday - 02/04/2019 16:18
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (L) says she will work with Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn (R) to get a Brexit deal. Picture: AFPSource:AFP
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (L) says she will work with Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn (R) to get a Brexit deal. Picture: AFPSource:AFP
The UK could be forced to endure a “ridiculous possibility” after PM Theresa May said she would seek further Brexit delays.

British Prime Minister Theresa May says Britain will seek another delay to Brexit in hopes of winning Parliament’s approval of a deal on the terms of its withdrawal from the European Union.

Mrs May said after a seven-hour Cabinet meeting that she will try to have cross-party talks with opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to try to break the Brexit logjam in parliament.
 

Opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn (L) and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture: AFP
Opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn (L) and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture: AFPSource:AFP


“We will need a further extension of Article 50, one that is as short as possible and which ends when we pass a deal,” she said. “And we need to be clear what such an extension is for, to ensure we leave in a timely and orderly way.”

“Today I am taking action to break the logjam. 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 ensure that we leave the European Union and that we do so with a deal.”
 

British Prime Minister Theresa May outside Downing Street. Picture: Getty
British Prime Minister Theresa May outside Downing Street. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images

 

The British leader’s statement comes amid building concern that the country will leave the EU on April 12.

That’s the deadline the EU’s 27 remaining countries gave the UK for leaving the bloc or coming up with a new plan.

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Politicians in the House of Commons have voted three times to reject an agreement Mrs May struck with the EU.

It comes as Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Ireland does not want to become a “back door” into the EU single market for Britain in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“We don’t want Ireland to be a back door to the single market, anymore than anybody wants us to become a back door to the single market,” Mr Varadkar said after a meeting in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.
 

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, greets Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Picture: AP
French President Emmanuel Macron, left, greets Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Picture: APSource:AP

 

Mr Varadkar said he was committed to preventing goods that do no meet EU norms from entering Ireland or the EU.

“In the unlikely event that we have a no-deal and the UK were to do trade deals with the US or China and we had chlorinated chicken or hormone beef, or products made by child labour in Asian countries, the last thing we would want is that coming south of the border into the Republic of Ireland.

“And we certainly wouldn’t want it getting through the Republic of Ireland into the European Union,” he said.

But he again reiterated his opposition to creating a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, for fear that it could jeopardise peace in the British province.
 

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Picture: AFP
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

 

Mr Varadkar said that while physical inspections would be necessary on imports like live animals, they could be done at ports in Northern Ireland rather than in the Irish Republic.

“That is the right and best place for them,” he said.

But the British government has refused to envisage carrying out customs checks on goods arriving in northern Ireland from Britain, arguing that to do so would drive a wedge through the United Kingdom.

The EU’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said that the EU was working with Ireland “on a unilateral basis in the event of no deal, to know where we can do these checks,” but refused to elaborate further.

Boris Johnson, a prominent Brexiteer, said further delays would hand power to the European Union.

“As it is, we now face the ridiculous possibility of being forced to contest the European elections more than three years after leaving the EU and having to agree to exit terms that in no way resemble what the people were promised when they voted to leave,” he said.

“It is very disappointing that the cabinet has decided to entrust the final handling of Brexit to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. It now seems all too likely that British trade policy and key law making powers will be handed over to Brussels - with no say for the UK.”


TERESA MAY’S FULL STATEMENT

“I’ve just come from chairing seven hours of Cabinet meetings focused on finding a route out of the current impasse, one that will deliver the Brexit the British people voted for and allow us to move on and begin bringing our divided country back together.

I know there are some who are so fed up with delay and endless arguments that they would like to leave with no deal next week, I’ve always been clear that we could make a success of no deal in the long term.

But leaving with a deal is the best solution. So we will need a further extension of Article 50, one that is as short as possible and which ends when we pass a deal.

And we need to be clear what such an extension is for, to ensure we leave in a timely and orderly way. This debate, this division, cannot drag on much longer. It is putting members of Parliament and everyone else under immense pressure and it is doing damage to our politics.

Despite the best efforts of MPs, the process that the House of Commons has tried to lead has not come up with an answer. So today I’m taking action to break the log jam.

I’m 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.

Any plan would have to agree the current Withdrawal Agreement. It has already been negotiated with the 27 other members and the EU has repeatedly said that it cannot and will not be reopened. What we need to focus on is our future relationship with the EU.

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.

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.

The Government would then bring forward the Withdrawal Agreement bill. We would want to agree a timetable for this Bill to ensure it is passed before the 22nd of May so that the United Kingdom need not take part in the European parliamentary elections.

This is a difficult time for everyone. Passions are running high on all sides of the argument, but we can and must find the compromises that will deliver what the British people voted for.

This is a decisive moment in the story of these islands and it requires national unity to deliver the national interest.”

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