May scrambles to find Brexit breakthrough

The British PM meets Merkel, Macron today

9 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

May scrambles to find Brexit breakthrough

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with German and French leaders Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron as she scrambles to find a Brexit breakthrough ahead of Wednesday’s crucial EU summit, reports AFP.

May will meet the two leaders on Tuesday, their offices announced on Monday, the day before the summit where she is expected to ask the bloc for another delay to Brexit.

Britain will fall out of the European Union without a deal on Friday if no delay agreement is reached.

“The chancellor and the British prime minister will have an exchange of views on Britain’s exit from the EU as well as on Wednesday’s special summit of the European Council,” said Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert.

May was on Monday to press ahead with her bid to find a “compromise” with the opposition Labour Party despite a backlash from her own Conservatives.

“Our intention is to engage further with the opposition today ... and we hope that will lead to formal face-to-face discussions” later Monday, a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

Having failed three times to get her withdrawal deal through parliament, May has been locked in talks with Labour to find a modified plan that could command a majority.

“It’ll mean compromise on both sides but I believe that delivering Brexit is the most important thing for us,” she said in a video message released on Sunday.

“The longer this takes, the greater the risk of the UK never leaving at all. It would mean letting the Brexit the British people voted for slip through our fingers.”

Labour wants a customs union with Brussels, something May consistently ruled out as it would prevent Britain striking trade deals with the rest of the world.

The talks broke down last week, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn saying, “I’m waiting to see the red lines move”.

Labour is also facing internal division, with 80 MPs writing to Corbyn urging him to secure a guarantee of a second referendum in any deal.