LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s exit from the European Union hung in the balance on Monday as Prime Minister Theresa May tried to coax the Labour Party into agreeing a divorce deal, two days before an emergency EU summit where she will try to delay the April 12 departure.
Brexit has already been delayed once but May is asking the EU for yet more time as she courts veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn, whose Labour Party wants to keep Britain more closely tied to the bloc after Brexit.
May heads to Berlin and Paris on Tuesday to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron and will be phoning other leaders before setting out the case for another delay at Wednesday’s EU summit in Brussels.
Nearly three years after the United Kingdom shocked the world by voting by 52 percent to 48 to leave the EU, May warned that Brexit might never happen, but said that she would do everything possible to make sure that it did.
Labour’s Brexit point man, Keir Starmer, said May’s government had so far not changed its position on Brexit and so no way forward had been agreed.
“Both us and the government have approached this in the spirit of trying to find a way forward. We haven’t found that yet. We will continue to do that,” Starmer said.
“The ball is the government’s court,” he added. “We need to see what they come back with and, when they do, we will take a collective position on that.”
May’s spokeswoman said she hoped further formal talks could take place later on Monday, adding: “The PM wants us to be able to agree with the opposition as soon as possible.”
She said May wanted Britain to have an independent trading policy –