British leader gambles on new soft Brexit deal

Home Secretary Sajid Javid

In either event, Mrs May said she would ask the EU for a further short extension to hopefully get an agreement passed by Parliament before 22 May, so the United Kingdom does not have to take part in European elections.

Juncker said if Britain approved the Brexit divorce deal by April 12, Britain could have a short extension until May 22 to prepare for an orderly departure.

Labour wants to stay in a customs union with the EU, raising the likelihood of a "soft" Brexit option that keeps Britain's economy closely aligned to the world's biggest trading bloc.

She said that her withdrawal deal would form the basis of any future agreement.

Corbyn said he welcomed May's "willingness to compromise to resolve the Brexit deadlock", the BBC reported. If the two party leaders could not reach an agreement, other options would be put to the House of Commons for a vote.

Smith says May known as the election to strengthen her hand in delivering Brexit, but was weakened when she lost her majority.

The United Kingdom was supposed to leave the European Union last Friday but, almost three years after it voted by 52 percent to 48 for Brexit in a referendum, it is still unclear how, when or even whether it will quit the bloc it joined in 1973.

Parliament has voted repeatedly to rule out a "no-deal" Brexit - most recently on Wednesday, when the House of Commons passed a bill that forces the government to ask for a delay to Britain's exit rather than crash out. This opens the door to a softer Brexit wide open, but the whole process must be complete before next Wednesday's emergency meeting of European Union heads of government.

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"We have agreed a programme of work to ensure we deliver for the British people, protecting jobs and security".

"The clock is still ticking, and avoiding a messy and disorderly exit from the European Union is still the top priority for our business communities", Adam Marshall, the head of the British Chambers of Commerce, said after May spoke.

The Prime Minister made a statement on Tuesday evening saying she would seek a further extension of Article 50 from the EU.

In Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions, she faced angry Tory MPs who accused her of going back on her word and "ushering in a Marxist, anti-Semite led government".

Labour lawmaker Paul Sweeney said May's outreach to his party "shows the desperation that she's in".

Mr Rycroft was replaced by Clare Moriarty as permanent secretary, leaving her with little time to get to grips with the department ahead of April 12, when Britain is due to leave the European Union without a deal after a short extension. Labour broadly accepts the legally binding divorce deal, the Withdrawal Agreement, but has nevertheless helped parliament to reject it three times.

Britain's dominant services sector contracted for the first time since the Brexit vote last month as intense political uncertainty constrains demand and weighs on business sentiment.

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