Theresa May says the UK needs a further extension to Article 50
May has also said she will down with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree a plan on the UK's exit from the EU
Theresa May issued a statement at Downing Street on Tuesday evening in which she confirmed that the United Kingdom required a further extension to Article 50.
The statement followed seven hours of meetings with Cabinet ministers, and came a day after the House of Commons yet again rejected alternative plans for Brexit during indicative votes.
Four alternatives were offered up to ministers - a customs union, Norway 2.0, removing the option of no deal and revocation of Article 50 - but each was rejected.
What exactly do the Conservatives want? According to last night’s indicative votes, nothing in particular.
There were more Tory MP abstentions than ‘Yes’ votes for every single option. pic.twitter.com/aikPEnLZRR
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) April 2, 2019
In her statement, May also revealed that she will meet with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a bid to agree a plan on the future of the UK's exit from the European Union.
May stated that she wants the extension - to which the EU must first agree - to be "as short as possible". The UK must exit the EU before 22 May to avoid having to take part in European elections.
May also decried the division that has soared in the UK during her time as prime minister, saying "this debate, this division cannot drag on much longer... It is doing damage to our politics".
"This debate, this division cannot drag on much longer... It is doing damage to our politics" - UK PM Theresa May confirms she is seeking further "short" extension to departure from EUhttps://t.co/zEeFMMJz94 #Brexit pic.twitter.com/xtLA1CVwDk
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) April 2, 2019
"This is a decisive moment in the story of these islands and it will require national unity to deliver the national interest," said May.
"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.''
Any meeting with Corbyn will likely require one or both of them to shift on their red lines, with analysis after her statement suggesting that May may be willing to do so on the subject of the customs union, an option that Labour backed during Monday's House of Commons vote.
Though there has been no official response from the European Council, a tweet from its president, Donald Tusk, suggested that they would be receptive to an extension.
Even if, after today, we don’t know what the end result will be, let us be patient. #Brexit
— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) April 2, 2019