Prime Minister Theresa May said tonight that she will ask for a second extension to the UK’s Brexit deadline in an attempt to solve the deadlock in Parliament.
She vowed to ‘break the logjam’ in the House of Commons and said she will seek a meeting with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to discuss a possible joint plan.
But her controversial withdrawal agreement, voted down three times in Parliament, would remain a key part of any deal, she insisted.
May said she wanted the shortest possible extension so that the UK does not have to participate in elections to the European Parliament.
As things stand, the UK has until April 12 to come up with a plan acceptable to the EU, or it will leave without a deal in May.
The UK was due to leave on March 29, but May was forced to agree a short extension when it became clear Parliament would not agree her withdrawal deal by the deadline.
MPs have since held two ‘indicative votes’ to try to find common ground, but all were rejected by the Commons.
May’s statement in Downing Street tonight came after a marathon seven-hour Cabinet meeting.
She promised to meet Corbyn to try and agree a plan acceptable to both leaders and if this could not be done, other options would be put before MPs for a decision.
The Prime Minister claimed that people were ‘fed up with delay and endless arguments and would rather leave without a deal.
She said that the UK ‘could make a success of no-deal in the long term’ but that departing the EU with a deal was the best solution.
May added: “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.”
Labour MP Hilary Benn, who chairs the Commons Brexit Committee, welcomed the Prime Minister’s decision to apply for a further extension.
But he added: “She really needs to give Parliament an indication she is willing to move. If this is the first indication she will shift, that is important but if it is the same old story then it isn’t.”