Brexit live: Theresa May makes statement after day-long Cabinet meeting
Senior ministers met for more than seven hours.
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.
The Prime Minister said, if a “single, unified approach” could not be agreed with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, then they would move to “a number of options for the future relationship we could put to the House in a series of votes to determine which course to pursue”.
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.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon questioned Theresa May’s plan after the speech, tweeting:
This does seem very much like PM kicking the can and, yet again, delaying making any decision that could break her Cabinet. What is missing is an answer from her to the question that many MPs faced up to last night - what is the compromise she is willing to make? https://t.co/pieZ4mpbnQ— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) April 2, 2019
Cabinet ministers have left Downing Street after the Prime Minister’s statement, but none offered any comment to waiting media.
Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt, Liz Truss, James Brokenshire, Amber Rudd, Chris Grayling and Damian Hinds left via the front door of Number 10.
Party chairman Brandon Lewis followed soon after.
Mrs May said, if a “single, unified approach” could not be agreed with Mr Corbyn, then they would move to “a number of options for the future relationship we could put to the House in a series of votes to determine which course to pursue”.
She said: “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.”
She said a Withdrawal Agreement Bill should be agreed by MPs before May 22 “so the UK need not take part in European Parliamentary elections”.
She added: “We can and must find the compromises that will deliver what the British people voted for.
“This is a decisive moment in the story of these islands and it requires national unity to deliver the national interest.”
MP Nick Boles who last night dramatically resigned the Tory whip in the House of Commons tweeted his response to the speech:
I have been very critical of the PM and the Cabinet in an interview with @bbclaurak this afternoon. I stand by my words. But the PM’s statement is very welcome. This is the right approach. Better late than never.— Nick Boles MP (@NickBoles) April 2, 2019
Mrs May said she would try to strike a compromise deal with Mr Corbyn but it would have to include her current deal.
She said: “Today I’m taking action to break the logjam.
“I’m offering to sit down with the leader of the opposition and try to agree a plan that we would both stick to to ensure we leave the EU and we do so with a deal.
“Any plan would have to agree the current Withdrawal Agreement – it has already been negotiated with the 27 other members and the EU has repeatedly said it cannot and will not be re-opened.”
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.”
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.”
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.