European Council president Donald Tusk has responded to Mrs May’s request for a short extension to Article 50, stating it is possible only if her deal is backed by MPs. This would push the date of Brexit back from March 29, to June 30. If the deal is not backed, Britain would have to leave the EU on March 29 with no deal.
The prospect of leaving the European Union with no deal has created a dilemma for Labour MPs.
Labour is strongly opposed to Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement, but are also fearful of how a no deal would affect their constituents.
With at least 20 European Research Group (ERG) MPs set on voting against Mrs May’s deal, the agreement will only pass with votes from Labour.
How many Labour MPs could vote for May’s deal?
As of yet, there has been no statement from Labour as to how they would vote on the deal following Mr Tusk’s letter.
Theresa May has invited all opposition party leaders for a meeting in her parliamentary office on Wednesday evening.
Read More: Donald Tusk demands ‘conditions’ from Theresa May to delay Brexit
The leaders of the Labour Party, SNP, Liberal Democrats, Green Party, Plaid Cymru and the Independent Group are understood to have been invited.
Labour MP Ian Murray has confirmed that Theresa May will make a statement to MPs at 8pm tonight.
John Bercow has said it is up to the Prime Minister if she then would lie to address the Commons – but that if she would it would be well received.
However, Theresa May’s actions have made a no-deal Brexit “far more likely”, Labour has warned during an emergency Commons debate.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the Opposition supports “as short as possible” an extension to the Brexit process but this must allow a “solution to the mess” the Prime Minister has created.
Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay later said any extra time must be used to ensure an “an orderly Brexit is delivered”.
Speaking in the Commons, Sir Keir told MPs: “Given where we got to last week, ruling out no-deal, requiring the Prime Minister to seek an extension of Article 50, in the intervening days, one might have expected the Prime Minister to reflect on where we’re at and to recognise … that perhaps she is the roadblock to progress.
“She could, at this stage, act in the national interest and frankly show some leadership and take a responsible approach, which I think would be to seek an extension to prevent no-deal and provide time for Parliament to find a majority for a different approach.
“I think many members are yearning for that opportunity to move forward and to break the impasse.”
Sir Keir also said there is a “growing expectation” that the Commons “needs to have time to decide what happens next”.
He added: “We’re now acting in the absence of a deal, with the express will of this House to prevent no-deal.
“One of my biggest concerns today is the Prime Minister’s actions make no-deal far more likely not less, and that’s the very issue we were trying to deal with last week.
“If agreed to be the EU, a short extension for the purposes of forcing through this deal would simply push the cliff-edge back to June 30 and we’d start down the same track.”
Sir Keir went on: “Of course any extension should be as short as possible, but it has to allow a solution to the mess the Prime Minister has got the country into to provide a route to prevent no-deal, not to make it more likely, and it has to provide a way for this House to prevent the Prime Minister from forcing the same deal on us over and over again.”
He said the Commons should be allowed to consider options to resolve the crisis, noting: “For Labour that centres on two basic propositions, a close economic relationship with a permanent customs union and single market alignment and a public vote, with credible Leave options and Remain.”
Sir Keir said these propositions “need to be tested” along possibly with others.