The Prime Minister warned last night that the longer it takes to find a compromise with the opposition Labour Party to secure a parliamentary majority for a Brexit deal, the less likely it is that Britain will leave the EU. And today she reiterated her stance after Brexiteers attacked her for giving in to Labour demands. Mrs May has a plan to enshrine in law a customs arrangement with the EU and her aides have discussed offering the opposition a place in the British delegation to Wednesday’s EU summit, according to the Sunday Times.
A customs union makes it easier for member states to trade with each other, without imposing tariffs (taxes on imports) on each other’s goods or imposing common external tariffs on goods from countries outside their customs union.
This comes after Mrs May has been unable to secure backing from the Commons for her withdrawal agreement with Brussels, even though this move could anger some Conservative members further and cause more a deeper party split.
The UK is scheduled to leave the EU at 11pm on Friday, so now she has turned to the opposition Labour Party as time is running out.
But leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Saturday he was waiting for Mrs May to move her Brexit red lines.
Mrs May said in a statement released by her Downing Street office: “The fact is that on Brexit there are areas where the two main parties agree: we both want to end free movement, we both want to leave with a good deal, and we both want to protect jobs.
“That is the basis for a compromise that can win a majority in Parliament and winning that majority is the only way to deliver Brexit.
“The longer this takes, the greater the risk of the UK never leaving at all.”
The Prime Minister has also asked EU leaders to postpone Brexit until June 30.
However, the EU responded she must first show a viable plan to secure agreement on her deal, after giving her a two-week extension the last time she asked.
Follow our live blog for updates on the latest Brexit developments.
Brexit Live: Theresa May has turned to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after her deal was rejected
10.30pm update: Sinn Fein to meet with Jeremy Corbyn
Sinn Fein leaders are to hold talks with Jeremy Corbyn to urge him to protect Irish interests whatever the outcome of his Brexit negotiations with Theresa May may be.
Party president Mary Lou McDonald said: “We spoke with Prime Minister Theresa May in the course of last week and tomorrow a Sinn Fein delegation will go to London.
“We will meet with Jeremy Corbyn. We will set out again the very clear need to protect Irish interests and make it very clear that whatever way Brexit lands – deal or no deal – Irish interests have to be protected.
“Our peace process, our all-Ireland economy and crucially, our citizens’ rights, cannot be the collateral damage to the Tory Brexit.”
9.30pm update: Germany urges Theresa May to compromise with Jeremy Corbyn and cut a Brexit
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz called on the British Government and opposition Labour Party to find cut an agreement able to command a majority in Parliament and let Britain leave the European Union.
He wrote on Twitter: “It is time for the British government and Labour to come to a sensible agreement to end the paralysis in British politics and to avoid a disorderly Brexit.”
7.45pm update: Amber Rudd’s allies dismiss claims she will back Boris Johnson in his leadership bid
Allies of the Work and Pensions Secretary played down rumours Mrs Rudd is ready to strike a deal with Boris Johson and back his leadership bid to unite the Conservative Party after Theresa May leaves her post.
While many Tories, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, have said they would approve of a so-called ‘Bamber’ joint bid, Mrs Rudd hasn’t yet signed up to any similar plans, her allies said.
Amber Rudd’s allies played down claims she would back Boris Johnson as a Tory Party’s leader
6.30pm update: Nigel Farage ATTACKS Theresa May following her televised plea
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the Prime Minister is telling “lies, lies, lies” regarding the talks she has had with Jeremy Corbyn on Brexit.
He wrote on Twitter: “In this video, Theresa May says that she agrees with Labour on ending free movement.
“Lies, lies, lies.
“As Home Sec she failed to control immigration, and she has failed again as PM.
“As for Labour, May should ask Diane Abbott where she stands on freedom of movement.”
5.30pm update: UK is being ‘HUMILIATED’ by EU as May begs for longer Brexit delay
The EU helps big corporations and politicians rather than its citizens, a British historian of France has claimed.
Robert Tombs says he can’t think of another time when the UK has been so “ridiculed and pitied” around the world – even by banana republics, a term for politically unstable countries.
Mr Tombs said in the Mail on Sunday: “It is staggering that the European Union has been allowed to mesmerise our hapless Government and self-indulgent Parliament.
“What is the huge attraction of remaining stuck to an enterprise in such steep decline? Just look at what is actually happening across Europe, where opposition among voters to Brussels is growing.
“The reasons are obvious. While the EU helps big corporations, bureaucrats, politicians and professionals, there is very little benefit to most people. In fact, it wrecks the lives among the most vulnerable.”
Brexit live: Could Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd form an alliance to succeed Theresa May?
4.50pm update: Who will succeed Theresa May as Tory leader?
Conservative members are battling for the top position to succeed Theresa May, with a potential alliance between Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd seen by supporters as a way of bridging the party’s Brexit divide.
This alliance has been dubbed Bamber and would see the Work and Pensions Secretary back Mr Johnson for the leadership in the hope that her influence would mean other MPs from the Remain wing of the party would follow.
Speculation about possible leadership contenders has heightened since Mrs May signalled she would leave office early if she could get a Brexit deal through.
During the referendum battle, Ms Rudd said Mr Johnson was “the life and soul of the party but he’s not the man you want driving you home at the end of the evening”.
4.04pm update: Raab mocks Corbyn on Brexit
The former Brexit Secretary said the Prime Minister was making a “major mistake” by negotiating with the far-left Labour leader.
Dominic Raab said the “desperate” negotiations were “bad for Brexit, bad for the Tory Party and potentially disastrous for the nation.”
The arch-Brexiteer and one of the frontrunners to succeed Mrs May, said: “Mr Corbyn has no serious interest in securing an effective Brexit.
“Throughout the whole process, he has zig-zagged like a drunk stumbling home from a Communist Party knees-up.
“Rather he will demand what amounts to a Single Market – something my party has explicitly rejected.
“If the PM bends to Mr Corbyn’s whims now, we can kiss goodbye to the opportunities Brexit offers us.”
Brexit live: Theresa May is negotiating with Jeremy Corbyn over her Brexit deal
3.28pm update: Theresa May wants “compromises on both sides”
She said: “There are lots of things on which I disagree with the Labour Party on policy issues.
“But on Brexit I think there are some things we agree on: ending free movement, ensuring we leave with a good deal, protecting jobs, protecting security.
“And so we are talking. Can we find a way through this that ensures that we can get a good deal and a deal agreed through Parliament?
“It’ll mean compromise on both sides but I believe that delivering Brexit is the most important thing for us.”
2.56pm update: Labour’s Jess Phillips savaged for Brexit block
Jess Phillips was savaged by Sky’s Sophie Ridge after campaigning for a second referendum despite her constituents resoundingly voting to leave the EU.
Ms Ridge blasted: “In your constituency, all four wards voted to leave the EU. And you support a second referendum.”
Ms Ridge replied: “Nobody who voted leave here has a massive go at me.
“I mean, you get the odd one who’ll send you angry…”
But the Sky presenter pressed: “But don’t they want you to respect their vote, though, and to carry it out?”
Her guest awkwardly answered: “Well, if they do, that’s not what they’re saying to me.
“They trust me to try and do the best thing for them.”
2.20pm update: How much has Brexit cost?
According to the experts at The Omni Calculator Project, a startup specialising in taking complex data and simplifying it for the public, Brexit has cost £116,060,578,792 so far.
That’s more than £100 billon.
This statistic is based on a report from the Bank of England which said the UK has lost £800million per week since the referendum.
Jack Bowater, The Omni Calculator’s Project Manager, told Express.co.uk: “Uncertainty is bad for business.
“Why would you order goods from a country that might not arrive, or for you to pay extra in tariffs before they get to you?
“This is what’s currently happening to the UK and its economy, with a Bank of England economist estimating that this is costing the country, and its people, £800 million a week.”
1.45pm update: Jacob Rees-Mogg says Theresa May has made “active choices” to stop Brexit
The chairman of the European Research Group of eurosceptic Conservative MPs is against at the prime minister Theresa May’s decision to sit down for talks with Jeremy Corbyn to break the Brexit deadlock.
He told Sky News this “risks giving a degree of credibility” to the Labour leader and “undermining the general thrust of the Conservative argument that he is a Marxist who would be dangerous to this nation’s interests”.
Mr Rees-Mogg said to Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “The prime minister could have taken us out on 29 March. It was the prime minister who asked for an extension, it was the prime minister who changed the date by prerogative power from March 29 to April 12.”
“This all rests with her and upon her shoulders. Mrs May has made active choices to stop us leaving and she deserves to be held to account for that.”
1.20pm: Labour will pay a price at ballot box in Scotland over Brexit
The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford has warned Labour that they will pay a price at the ballot box in Scotland if a deal with the Tories increases the risk of a hard Brexit.
He said that Labour should be “very careful” as any future government would not be bound by what was agreed by a previous one.
Mr Blackford also warned that if someone like Boris Johnson were to become prime minister, the risk of a hard Brexit would be “very real”.
He told BBC Sunday Politics Scotland: “I would say to colleagues in the Labour Party be very careful because if you do allow this deal to get through, and we know that Theresa May is going to go, you could end up with someone like Boris Johnson as prime minister and quite frankly he can come along with any legislation that he chooses to do so.
“There are no guarantees through this process, and the risk of having a hard Brexit, having Scotland being outwith not just the single market and the customs union, would be very real, and I would say to Labour don’t do this, be very careful with what you are doing or quite simply you will pay a price at the ballot box in Scotland.”
Mr Blackford said the Prime Minister is asking Mr Corbyn to effectively be the “midwife of Brexit” and to rule out free movement of people.
He urged both parties to be very careful because free movement of people is “absolutely essential” to Scotland to deliver growth in its economy.
Brexit live: Iain Dale predicts this week will be “ugly” for the Conservatives
12.57pm update: Conservative party cracks over May’s Labour talks
Iain Dale, who presents the Evening Show on LBC Radio, has predicted the next week is “going to be ugly”.
He says splits within the Conservative Party could worsen over the cross-party talks.
He wrote in the Sunday Telegraph: “Something has changed in the last seven days. We can all sense it.
“The next seven days are going to be ugly, but they may determine whether there is anything to save from the wreckage the Prime Minister has created, or whether the party splits are deepened.”
12.31pm update: Nigel Farage vows to bring together prominent business people and academics to stand in pro-Brexit party
The former UKIP leader confirmed his “Brexit Party” will be contesting all 73 seats in the 2019 European Elections.
His bombshell announcement comes amid both the Tories and Labour scrambling to find suitable candidates in time.
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Farage said candidates would be drawn from “all walks of life” and a number would be household figures.
He said: “We will have a full slate of candidates featuring people from all walks of life, including business and academia, and all areas of the country.
“Many have never been party political before and some of them will have instant name recognition.”
Brexit live: Mrs May and husband Philip leave a church service, near her Maidenhead Constituency
11.58am update: Former Brexit secretary tells May to listen to the leader of Germany’s CDU party
Theresa May should go to Germany and negotiate a deal to avoid the Irish backstop, according to former Brexit secretary David Davis.
The MP for Haltemprice and Howden said: “I have said many times that negotiations with the EU would only really make substantive progress at the eleventh hour.
“I think it’s fair to say now we are at the eleventh hour and fifty-nine minutes.”
The arch-Brexiteer believes the UK “needs to change the direction of travel” in order to get the Prime Minister’s deal through the House of Commons.
He said Mrs May should listen to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the leader of Germany’s CDU party, who earlier this week said: “If the UK now came to us and said: ‘let’s spend five days negotiating non-stop on how to avoid the backstop’, I can’t imagine anyone in Europe saying ‘No’.
“If the UK had new watertight proposals for the border, I don’t think anyone in the EU would say ‘We don’t want to talk about it.’”
11.20am update: Further cross-party negotiations planned following “disappointing” talks
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey also appeared on the Andrew Marr Show, as she is one of the Labour team in the cross-party talks.
Ms Long Bailey said: “The overall mood is quite a positive and hopeful one.
“The sad thing is at the moment we haven’t seen overall any real changes to the deal, but we are hopeful that will change in coming days and we are willing to continue the talks as we know the Government are.”
She added the teams were “keeping our diaries as free as possible” and “we have had exchanges with the Government over the weekend, clarifying our position. They have been setting out theirs and hopefully at the beginning of next week we will be having further discussions”.
“But we are currently waiting for the Government to come back to us now to state whether they are prepared to move on any of their red lines.
“We had great discussions and we went into a lot of technical detail but so far we haven’t seen anything from Government that would suggest they are prepared to change any part of the deal going forward.”
Brexit live: Andrea Leadsom appeared on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday
10.49am update: May warned Brexit is slipping away forever
House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said through gritted teeth on the Andrew Marr Show this morning that Mrs May is going to have to listen to Labour leadership.
She said that provided the UK is leaving the EU, it is important for the Prime Minister to compromise and deliver Brexit, otherwise it could slip away forever.
When she was challenged on whether she could accept the UK remaining in a customs union with Brussels, Ms Leadsom said: “There are various different types of arrangement and those discussions are still ongoing.
“For me, whatever we deliver, it has to be Brexit.”
She added the Prime Minister’s deal with Brussels had a “customs arrangement” in it aimed at tariff-free trade.
“My expectation – and I’m not party to the discussions – is that the Prime Minister will only seek to agree those things that still constitute Brexit.”
Asked if a customs union constituted Brexit, Ms Leadsom said: “It depends on what that means. There is a customs arrangement in the Prime Minister’s deal which I have supported every time.”