UK’s May concedes Brexit deal won’t pass ‘in near future’

The fate of Brexit is up in the air after talks between PM Theresa May and Labour's Jeremy Corbyn

The EU agreed to postpone the March 29 departure date, but gave Britain only until April 12 to pass May's original agreement, come up with a new plan and seek a further extension, or leave without an agreement or a transition period to smooth the way.

The current Brexit deadline of April 12 has already been pushed back once from March 29 because of the United Kingdom parliament's failure on three occasions to back the deal May signed with the other 27 European Union leaders in December.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday again sought to delay Brexit until June 30 to avoid a chaotic withdrawal from the European Union in one week, although a key leader of the bloc suggested an even longer pause in the hard divorce proceedings.

The beleaguered leader opened talks this week with the Labour Party in a bid to break months of stubborn opposition in parliament to the withdrawal agreement she struck with European leaders previous year.

Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted she had to reach out to Labour in a bid to deliver Brexit or risk letting it "slip through our fingers".

Corbyn has said he was "waiting to see the red lines move" and had not "noticed any great change in the government's position".

The previous three days of talks ended with no agreement, with Labour accusing May's Conservative government of not offering any compromise on their plans.

Tory critics warned that the way Brexit was being handled could pose an "existential threat" to the party.

The government has not proposed any changes to the PM's Brexit deal during cross-party talks, says shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer.

But she warned: "I'll be very candid with the chamber - no matter how much planning or contingency work we do, it will not be possible to mitigate every impact of a no deal Brexit should that happen".

"No 10 described as speculation reports that it would. enshrine in a law a promise to give Parliament a say on the terms of further negotiations with the European Union, as a way of stopping a new Tory leader shifting to a harder Brexit".

The prime minister has asked European Union leaders to postpone Britain's exit from the bloc until June 30.

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The travel documents had dark blue covers from 1921, but Britain switched to burgundy from 1988, in common with other members of the-then European Community.

She was forced to seek a second delay after her deal was rejected for a third time by MPs last week.

The option of accepting a long Brexit delay and European Parliament elections came second, being preferred by 35 per cent, with just 16 per cent favouring Prime Minister May's controversial Withdrawal Agreement.

"A delay is a tool, but not a solution in itself", a presidential source told AFP news agency.

Labour wants fundamental changes to the deal's political declaration, which outlines future UK-EU relations.

It is the latest twist in a saga which leaves Britain, the world's fifth-biggest economy, struggling to find a way to honour a 2016 referendum vote to take the country out of the globe's largest trading bloc.

One of the most senior Brexiters in her government, the leader of the lower house of Parliament, Andrea Leadsom, also said there was a risk of Brexit slipping further from lawmakers' grasp.

Any extension would have to be unanimously approved by European Union leaders.

Labour's victor in the Newport West by-election, Ruth Jones, said she is against a no-deal exit from the EU.

Speaking during a visit to south Wales to mark his party's victory in the Newport West by-election, Jeremy Corbyn said: "There's been no obvious move on the side of the Government as of yet, we're continuing those talks".

"What is important is that any extension enables us to leave at the point at which we ratify the withdrawal agreement", May said as she arrived in Brussels.

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