Theresa May acknowledges the possibility that Brexit may not happen next month
- Author: Rogelio Becker Feb 27, 2019,
Feb 27, 2019, 1:03
Finally, if Parliament rejects May's deal and rejects leaving with no deal, then they will be asked if they want to seek a months-long delay.
"I have got to say I think our party's response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion... we have backed off too much, we have given too much ground, we have been too apologetic".
Mr Tusk revealed that he had discussed the legal and procedural process for extending withdrawal talks under Article 50 with the prime minister when he met her on Sunday in Egypt.
Then, in a speech to MPs on Monday evening, Mr Corbyn said the party would back an amendment to take no-deal off the table, put forward an amendment to keep the United Kingdom in a customs union with the EU and, significantly, the party would "put forward or support an amendment in favour of a public vote".
Cabinet ministers Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark have already said it would be better to extend Article 50 than leave without a deal on March 29.
The PM's announcement came amid mounting expectations of a ministerial revolt, with three members of the Government - Richard Harrington, Claire Perry and Margot James - breaking ranks to warn in a newspaper article that they would back a cross-party bill created to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
"I believe in the situation we are in, an extension would be a rational solution but Prime Minister May still believes she's able to avoid this scenario", Tusk told a closing summit press conference.
Labor then said if its plan was rejected, it would lend its support to an amendment on holding a second referendum on European Union membership - without specifying a date.
That vote, he added, "ought to be on the option, on the one hand, of a credible leave deal and. on the other hand, remain".
The announcement was a reversal for the Prime Minister who had spent months insisting that she would not delay Brexit.
Veteran Europhile Tory Sir Kenneth Clarke said Mrs May was simply "pushing back the cliff edge".
But Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards told MPs it would be the "political equivalent of swimming around in circles" if Brexit is extended but no deal comes back on the table later in the year.
A Labour source supported that last night, saying: 'We've said in the past that if there were another referendum that remain would need to be on the ballot paper'.
But many lawmakers pointed out that British politics remains deadlocked over Brexit, with both May's governing Conservatives and the main opposition Labour Party deeply split on the issue.
At a meeting of the parliamentary Labour party on Monday night, MPs will be told that the move is aimed at preventing "a damaging Tory Brexit being forced on the country".
But Caroline Flint, Labour MP for Don Valley, said the party was in danger of overturning its election promise to respect the 2016 result.
The 2016 referendum, in which 17.4 million voters backed leaving and 16.1 million backed staying, showed a country divided about much more than the European Union, and has fuelled soul-searching about everything from secession and immigration to capitalism and modern British identity. There are Labour MPs like me who will not support a second ref.
But the idea of a new referendum faces opposition from some Labour lawmakers in areas that voted to leave the bloc, who say reversing Brexit would betray the will of voters.