May offers talks with Corbyn to deliver short delay to Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May has said she aims to ask for a further extension to the Brexit process to allow the UK to leave the European Union “in a timely and orderly way”.

Mrs May offered to hold talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree a plan acceptable to both, which can be put to the House of Commons ahead of the April 10 summit of the European Council.

Speaking in 10 Downing Street after a marathon session of Cabinet lasting over seven hours, Mrs May said that any further delay to Brexit should be “as short as possible”.

She said a bill to pave the way for departure would have to be in place by May 22 to ensure the UK did not have to take part in European Parliament elections.

Setting out her plan for talks with Mr Corbyn, Mrs May said: “The ideal outcome of this process would be to agree an approach on a future relationship that delivers on the result of the referendum, that both the leader of the Opposition and I could put to the House for approval and which I could then take to next week’s European Council.

“However, if we cannot agree on the single unified approach, then we would instead agree a number of options for the future relationship that we could put to the House in a series of votes to determine which course to pursue.

“Crucially, the Government stands ready to abide by the decision of the House. But to make this process work, the opposition would need to agree to this too.”

Standing at a lectern with the Government crest, before two Union flags, the Prime Minister added: “This is a decisive moment in the story of these islands and it will require national unity to deliver the national interest.”