May uses letter to European Union to pressurise Corbyn to do deal

Jeremy Corbyn facing Theresa May

A combination photo shows a copy of a letter from Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, to European Council President, Donald Tusk, regarding Brexit in London, Britain April 5, 2019.

She confirms that the United Kingdom would begin "contingency" preparations to field candidates for European Parliament polls but will keep working towards getting a withdrawal deal ratified by May 22 in order to avert such a move.

May is expected to travel to a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to make the request of EU leaders, who are likely to offer an extension of up to a year, which would mean Britain fighting European Parliament (EP) elections in May.

In her letter, May said that, in spite of "considerable efforts by both members of parliament and the Government", the House of Commons has not yet approved the withdrawal agreement, while also opposing a no-deal crash-out.

May conceded that this method could take time and lead Britain to take part in European Parliament elections on 23 May. She is now in talks with the opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to find a way out of the deadlock, but it is not clear whether they can find a solution in the next few days.

His offer comes as Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking another short extension to Britain's departure date, from April 12th to June 30th.

European Union leaders agreed late last month to prolong the Brexit date from March 29 until April 12, unless May could push their mutually agreed divorce deal through Parliament.

Labour's frustration with the progress of the talks was evident after an exchange of letters with the Government on Friday.

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May seeks fresh Brexit delay, Labour talks
It is also unclear where May's last-ditch attempt to get a Brexit deal through will ultimately leave her minority government. He described the talks "useful but inconclusive", and said there would be further discussions on Thursday.

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The cross-party Brexit teams are set to continue their talks on striking a Brexit compromise, with Thursday's technical talks described as "productive" according to a statement released after four and a half hours of negotiations between the Tory and Labour frontbench ministers and shadow ministers.

Mr. Corbyn is pushing for the U.K.to remain in the EU's customs union after Brexit to ensure the free movement of goods and keep the Irish border open.

But a Downing Street spokesman struck a more upbeat tone, saying: "We have made serious proposals in talks this week, and are prepared to pursue changes to the political declaration in order to deliver a deal that is acceptable to both sides".

EU sources said the EU Council President is recommending a longer postponement of one year, with a break clause in the case of earlier ratification, in a so-called "flextension" deal.

The prime minister has proposed that if UK MPs approve a deal in time, the UK should be able to leave before European Parliamentary elections on 23 May.

"I would go further and say it would be the suicide note of the Conservative Party".

They are also discussing the possibility of holding a confirmatory referendum. May's spokesman said there would be no time limit but the government's aim was to produce a deal that could be ratified in time to leave the European Union by May 22.

She was forced to seek a second delay after her deal was rejected for a third time by MPs last week. Labour is pushing for this declaration to require the U.K.to remain in a customs union with the EU (ensuring tariff-free movement of goods into and out of the EU) as well as to guarantee that the United Kingdom would continue to match the EU's high standards on worker and consumer rights and environmental protections. That prompted her latest gamble: talks with Corbyn, a stunning about face after almost three years of insisting that her terms were the only viable plan.

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