British Prime Minister Theresa May is reaching across the aisle for help from the United Kingdom’s left-wing Labour Party to close out Brexit ahead of a looming deadline that has been previously delayed.
May announced she was seeking yet another short-term extension on Brexit beyond an April 12 deadline Tuesday, Reuters reported.
She also said she will broker the deal to leave the European Union in tandem with opponent Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader.
“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 — to ensure that we leave the European Union and that we do so with a deal,” she said, according to Reuters.
The move has outraged some conservatives but could enable May to finally pass a divorce deal through Parliament after a historic defeat in January.
UK politicians have struggled to finalize the details of an exit from the EU since the British people called for it in a referendum in 2016.
Some advocate for a “hard Brexit” in which the UK leaves the EU without any agreement dealing with a customs union, worker protections or UK access to the EU’s single market.
Those are all subjects that Corbyn wants to cover in a Brexit deal. They are hoping May will soften her approach to separating from the EU’s customs and trading system, The New York Times reported.
“I’m very happy to meet the prime minister,” Corbyn said after May’s announcement, according to The Times.
“We recognize that she has made a move. I recognize 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. And that’s the basis on which we will meet her and have those discussions.”
Corbyn also said he would hold a vote of no-confidence in May’s government in reserve should an exit deal fail to achieve majority support in Parliament, Reuters reported.
Pro-Brexit forces are not happy that May and Corbyn could team up, potentially resulting in less autonomy for the nation over immigration and trade.
“I think the result will almost certainly be, if Corbyn gets his way, that we remain in the customs union so that we can’t control our trade policy, that there are huge areas of lawmaking we can’t control, and Brexit is becoming soft to the point of disintegration,” Boris Johnson, a former member of May’s cabinet, said, according to The Times.
A poll published in late March showed that 90 percent of Brits said Brexit negotiations and how the government is handling them have been a “national humiliation.” The debate has been fierce on both sides, and topless climate protesters provided an unexpected distraction to members of Parliament debating Brexit Monday.
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