The Prime Minister will travel to Berlin to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Paris for talks with the French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of a crucial EU summit on Wednesday. She is expected to appeal to leaders to grant Britain an extension until June 30 to get her Brexit deal though Parliament. EU leaders will be under pressure to decide whether to grant Britain another delay, a decision that can be vetoed by any of the other 27 member states.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned it is “crucial to know when and on what basis the UK will ratify the Withdrawal Agreement” as the EU considers Theresa May‘s request to delay.
But without any Brexit extension, Britain will leave the European Union at 10pm on Friday.
Brussels is not expected to trigger a disorderly no deal Brexit, but diplomats said all options are still on the table, from refusing a delay to granting Mrs May’s request or pushing for a longer postponement.
But Britain’s departure from the EU has already been delayed once, and patience is wearing thin as talks with Labour have yet to find a breakthrough.
The opposition party’s demands include keeping Britain in a customs union with the EU, something which is difficult to reconcile with Mrs May’s desire for Britain to have an independent trade policy.
Brexit latest: Theresa May is meeting Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron as she appeals for a delay
If the UK were to commit to remaining in the customs union, it would make a total and utter nonsense of the referendum result. We would be out of the EU, but in many ways still run by the EU. It would be the worst of both worlds
Ahead of further talks today, Jeremy Corbyn said: “The Prime Minister has not yet moved off her red lines so we can reach a compromise.”
But several Brexiteers are still fuming with Mrs May for opening talks with Labour in order to get her deal over the line in Westminster.
Boris Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “In order to get Corbyn onside, the Government is apparently willing to abandon the cardinal principle and central logic of Brexit.
“If the UK were to commit to remaining in the customs union, it would make a total and utter nonsense of the referendum result.
“We would be out of the EU, but in many ways still run by the EU. It would be the worst of both worlds, not just now but forever.”
Follow the Express.co.uk’s live blog for updates today:
Brexit latest: Talk with Labour are yet to find a breakthrough
EU chiefs today hinted that only a long extension will avoid a no-deal Brexit as they remain unconvinced with Theresa May’s strategy.
European affairs ministers from across the bloc convened in Luxembourg to discuss preparations for tomorrow’s emergency Brexit summit where leaders will deliberate the Prime Minister’s request to extend Article 50 for the second time.
There are still fears amongst the senior EU27 politicians that Britain will leave the bloc without a deal on Friday night if leaders fail to reach an agreement with Mrs May on the delay.
Brussels is demanding a clear plan from the Prime Minister on how she sees the way forward to secure the support of MPs for her hated Brexit deal in Westminster.
But if Mrs May cannot convince EU leaders of her plan to pass the draft withdrawal deal through the Commons in the short-term, they will encourage her to agree a lengthy delay that could keep Britain tied to the bloc until April 2020.
9am update: ‘Fantastic’ if Merkel supports ‘proper UK Brexit’, says Leadsom
House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom is hoping Angela Merkel will agree to reopen the withdrawal agreement to get a Brexit deal passed by the British parliament.
Ahead of Theresa May’s meetings with the German Chancellor and French President Emmanuel Macron today, she said: “What I think would be fantastic if Angela Merkel will try to support a proper UK Brexit by agreeing to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement.
“There have been rumours over the weekend that some senior members of the German government would be willing to do that in order to get Theresa May’s deal across the line.”
“If we could get the Prime Minister’s deal over the line because the EU have decided to support measures on the backstop then that would be the best possible outcome.”
8.50am update: Tory and Labour talks ‘constructive’ – but too early to say if agreement can be struck
Justice Secretary David Gauke has said Brexit talks between the Government and Labout are taking place in a “constructive manner”.
Theresa May’s de facto deputy David Lidington and Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer will continue discussions today.
Mr Gauke told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The talks so far have been undertaken in a constructive manner from both sides. There are some areas of common ground but there are also well-known areas of disagreement.
“There is a lot of work going on at the moment in terms of identifying where we can move forward.”
He added: “Clearly we are at this position at the moment where Parliament is not prepared to support us leaving without a deal for perfectly good reasons but there is no consensus on what that deal needs to be.
“That is why it is necessary for the Prime Minister to work across the floor of the House and see if we find a consensus but that is not easy.”
Michel Barnier has warned the UK he will ‘not discuss anything’ under a no deal Brexit – despite a key ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling for a “quick” trade agreement with UK.
The EU chief met with Leo Varadkar in the Irish capital to “take stock” of developments in London, claiming the EU “stood fully behind Ireland”.
Prime Minister Theresa May and the Labour party are engaged in cross-party talks to break the Brexit deadlock in parliament – with Mrs May expected to ask the EU for an extension to Article 50.
Mr Barnier urged Mrs May and Mr Corbyn to work together and to strike a deal around the Irish backstop issue, but said he would “refuse” to talk to the UK under a no deal exit “until there is an agreement for Ireland and Northern Ireland”.
But Conservative MP for Chelsea and Fulham Greg Hands said he was more inclined to believe the German political party Christain Democratic Union (CDU), who say they will move “quickly” to secure a deal with the UK in the case of a no deal.
Mr Hands tweeted: “Awkward that @MichelBarnier says EU wouldn’t do any quick deals with UK after No Deal Brexit – but @EPP Spitzenkandidat @ManfredWeber’s own @CDU @CSU German Euro-election manifesto says they will “quickly” move to do such deals. I believe the latter, myself.”
Express.co.uk readers have called for a no-deal Brexit over a second vote or general election, an exclusive poll of almost 50,000 people has revealed.
The results of Monday’s online poll were overwhelming, with almost 75 percent opting for a no deal European Union exit over a second referendum or general election.
The Express.co.uk poll, which went live on this website shortly before 11am yesterday, asked readers if they’d opt for a no deal Brexit, a general election or a second referendum.
As of 8pm last night, an astounding 46,209 readers had voted in the poll, and the results are clear.
In total, 34,123 (74 percent) voted for a no deal Brexit.
In second place was the option of a second referendum, raking in 10,835 votes (24 percent).
And in last place was a general election, gathering just 1,251, or two percent of the vote.
Brexit latest: Boris Johnson is still fuming at talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
8.16am update: PM ditches MPs in Commons and Cabinet for Merkel and Macron
Mrs May was meant to spend the morning discussing Brexit with her own Cabinet and then debating an extension with MPs in the Commons. Instead she has chosen to ditch both debates in favour of emergency talks with Merkel and Macron – in a painfully obvious symbol of exactly where the power in the relationship really lies.
8.15am update: France and Netherlands warn Britain over Brexit delay
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned Theresa May must present a clear and credible way out of the rumour surrounding Britain’s exit from the European Union for France to accept a delay.
He told Franceinfo television: “There is need for clarity on why the delay and how it will in the end facilitate an agreement.
Asked whether a no-deal was inevitable if May failed, Mr Le Maire replied: “I prefer an agreement. But Theresa May should give us the reasons why she wants the delay and these reasons must be credible.”
Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok wants the European Union to give Britain more time to sort out Brexit but warned London must be clear on how it plans to do it.
He told reporters on arriving to talks with fellow EU ministers in Luxembourg: “It’s in the Dutch interest to avoid hard Brexit and if more time is needed to avoid no-deal Brexit, we should provide more time.
“I really hope the UK will find a solution to avoid this no-deal Brexit. We are hoping for a specific plan from the UK side on how to avoid this no-deal Brexit.”
8.10am update: Government aide ready to defy whips by addressing People’s Vote campaign rally
Huw Merriman said it was “likely” his appearance at an event in London today would cost him his job as an unpaid parliamentary private secretary to Chancellor Philip Hammond.
The MP for Bexhill and Battle, who backs Theresa May’s deal, wants to use the event to explain why he supported a confirmatory referendum on the agreement in last week’s indicative votes in the House of Commons.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It has been made clear to me that is not Government policy.
“My issue with that is that a week ago we were given free votes and I was allowed to vote for this concept of putting the Prime Minister’s deal back to the people to get it through.
“If I then get sacked for actually explaining the way I voted in a free vote, that to me would be a new low in democracy.
“It would be nonsensical for me to be given a free vote, to be allowed to vote the way I wish to vote, but then to explain it I would lose my position.
“That’s politics of the madhouse and I am just not willing to go along with that.”
8am update: Tory MP quits European Research Group
Daniel Kawczynski has quit the European Research Group (ERG), warning it is putting Britain’s departure from the EU at risk.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Topday programme: “I don’t wish to be affiliated to a caucus, which I now perceive to be part of the problem in actually getting the Withdrawal Agreement across the finishing line.
“From a practical perspective there are elements now within that caucus that are preventing this Withdrawal Agreement going through and therefore inevitably that will lead to possibly no Brexit at all, and that is not something I wish to contemplate. I think we should protect Brexit.”
Mr Kawczynski also said he opposed a call from ERG deputy chairman Mark Francois for Tory MPs to have a vote to show they had lost faith in Theresa May, despite party rules preventing another formal leadership challenge until December.
He added: “I do disagree with Mark Francois on that. I don’t think the time has come for another leadership contest. I think we have to abide by the rules our party has set.”