Brexit: I had no choice but to approach Labour - May

EU elections likely UK timetable

EU elections likely UK timetable

Members of UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party could move to resign en masse if the UK is forced to take part in European elections next month and extend its EU membership beyond the end of June.

In a letter, British Prime Minister Theresa May told EU Council president Donald Tusk that she wanted to ensure her country left the bloc in an "orderly way", as she fights to have the current exit deal approved by parliament.

"I haven't noticed any great change in the government's position so far", Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Saturday.

The issue of leaving or staying in the European Union is highly divisive among Labour voters and Corbyn's campaigning for Remain in the 2016 poll is lukewarm. "I offered my resignation and still the deal didn't go through", she said, reflecting on the three crushing defeats her deal with Brussels had suffered at the hands of MPs.

But critics said it did so too early and should have first built a consensus in Britain - particularly in parliament - over what kind of future relationship it wants with the bloc.

Chancellor Philip Hammond insisted the Government had "no red lines" in the talks and he was "optimistic that we will reach some form of agreement with Labour".

This forces her into a deal with Northern Ireland's hardline Democratic Unionist Party - just as the issue of the Irish border emerges as the main point of contention in negotiations with the EU.

This would require the United Kingdom to stand in EU Parliamentary elections, due to begin on 23rd of May - even though Mrs May had previously rejected calls for Brexit to be delayed so long it would have to contest the elections, stating: "I think people would ask what on earth we were doing if, having voted almost three years ago to leave the European Union, they were then asked to elect Members to the European Parliament".

Cross-party Brexit talks between the Tories and Labour have reportedly broken down due to a lack of willingness to compromise from the government.

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May, however, announced in her Saturday statement that she has "no choice but to reach out across the House of Commons", as a longer delay could risk the United Kingdom not leaving at all.

Her cross-party talks with Labour appear to have stalled, with shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer saying it was "disappointing" that the Prime Minister was refusing to consider changes to her deal.

Labour's key demand is for a customs union with the EU.

He said: 'At the moment there is focus on delivering Brexit, but if a long delay becomes a reality I believe the noises off about removing the prime minister will become a cacophony'.

European leaders will decide on Mrs May's request at an emergency Brussels summit on Wednesday.

The EU has previously said any long extension would be conditional on a "clear plan" for the way forward, or a political "event" such as another referendum or general election.

"The UK fighting European elections nearly three years after a clear majority voted to leave the EU sums up the disorganised and slapdash approach taken to negotiations by the Prime Minister".

Mrs May has already obtained one extension to the Article 50 withdrawal process, postponing the date of Brexit from March 29 to April 12.

"I will not stand for that".

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