Merkel hopes UK can present new Brexit proposals next week

Irish Prime Minister and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) in Farmleigh, Dublin, Ireland, 4 April 2019. [Aidan Crawley/EPA/EFE]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hopes crisis cross party talks in London aimed at breaking the domestic deadlock over Britain’s exit from the European Union can produce a common position by the time EU leaders meet next week.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose deal to leave the EU has been rejected in parliament three times, has turned to the opposition Labour Party in a last-ditch bid to pass the divorce terms she signed with the bloc’s leaders in November.

“We hope that intensive discussions in London can lead even by next Wednesday (10 April), when we will have our extraordinary summit, to a position that British Prime Minister Theresa May can present to us, that we can then discuss,” Merkel told a news conference with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin.

“We will then stay together as 27. We will do everything, as I’ve already said, to the last hour to prevent a disorderly exit.”

Merkel added that there had been a lot of movement in the British position over the past few days and Varadkar, whose country is the most exposed member state to the impact of a no deal Brexit, said EU leaders must be patient while talks continue in London.

“We said that if the UK had not ratified the withdrawal agreement it should come forward with a clear plan for the way forward by next week or it would leave the European Union on 12 April without a deal,” Varadkar said.

“This is an outcome that none of us want to see. Matters continue to play out in London and I think we need to be patient and understanding of the predicament they’re in. But of course any further extension must require and must have a credible and realistic way forward.”

Second referendum as an option?

Theresa May’s government is drafting a letter to the opposition Labour Party that could suggest allowing lawmakers to decide whether there should be a confirmatory referendum on any Brexit deal, the Guardian reported on Thursday.

May’s team has been in talks with Labour for two days to try to find a way out of the Brexit logjam.

“A letter is now being drafted to Labour, setting out the position after two days of talks,” Guardian political editor Heather Stewart said. “Have been told it’s likely to include the idea that a confirmatory referendum should be one option put to MPs.”

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