Brexit live: Theresa May makes statement after day-long Cabinet meeting

Theresa May said that the UK needs an extension to Brexit talks which is “as short as possible” in order to leave the EU with a deal.

Her short statement came on a day when a cross-party group of senior MPs launched a bid to force the Prime Minister to stop no-deal Brexit by tabling a bill requiring her to extend the negotiation process beyond April 12.

Number 10 made clear on Tuesday that exit without agreement in 10 days time remains the legal default unless MPs approve a deal. And EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said a no-deal departure was becoming “day after day more likely”.

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Mrs May said she hoped to agree a deal with Mr Corbyn which could be put to the Commons for approval before the April 10 European Council summit, but, if that cannot be achieved, then a number of alternative options could be put to the vote.

Insisting that any resolution should take the UK out of the EU by May 22, Mrs May said: “This is a decisive moment in the story of these islands and it will require national unity to deliver the national interest.”

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Speaking inside Downing Street, Mrs May said: “I have always been clear that we could make a success of no-deal in the long term but leaving with a deal is the best solution.

“So we will need a further extension of Article 50 – one that is as short as possible and which ends when we pass a deal.

“And we need to be clear what such an extension is for: to ensure we leave in a timely and orderly way.

“This debate, this division, cannot drag on much longer.”

6.05pm

Speaking in 10 Downing Street following a seven-hour Cabinet, Theresa May said that the UK needs an extension to Brexit talks which is “as short as possible” in order to leave the EU with a deal.

Mrs May said she is offering to sit down with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to try to agree a plan which allows the UK to leave the EU with a deal.

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