Fear of chaotic Brexit grows | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 05, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:44 AM, April 05, 2019

Fear of chaotic Brexit grows

UK scrambles to find solution as May-Corbyn meet promises little

Britain's government yesterday redoubled its efforts to win over the main opposition party in a last-gasp bid to avoid a chaotic exit from the European Union next week.

The latest round of talks came after lawmakers tried to safeguard against a doomsday ending to the 46-year partnership by fast-tracking a bill Wednesday night seeking to delay Brexit.

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May is racing against the clock in a desperate search for votes that could push her ill-loved divorce deal with the other 27 EU leaders through parliament on the fourth attempt.

May's spokesman said there would be "intensive discussions over the course of today", noting the "urgency" of the situation.

Britain's latest deadline is April 12 and resistance to May's plan remains passionately strong.

But increasingly weary EU leaders -- tired of Britain's political drama and eager to focus on Europe's own problems -- want to see either a done deal or a new way forward from May before they all meet in Brussels on Wednesday.

Her European counterparts will decide whether to grant May's request to push back Brexit until May 22 -- the day before nations begin electing a new European Parliament.

One alternative is to force her to accept a much longer extension that could give Britain time to rethink Brexit and possibly reverse its decision to leave.

The other is to let Britain go without a deal on April 12 in the hope that the economic disruption is short-lived and worth the price of eliminating long-term Brexit uncertainties.

May dramatically ended her courtship of her own party's holdouts and resistant Northern Irish allies by turning to the main opposition Labour Party this week.

The premier met Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday for a reported 100 minutes of talks both sides described as "cordial" but inconclusive.

But May's decision to hear out Corbyn's demands for a closer post-Brexit alliance with the bloc that includes membership in its customs union has enraged Britain's right-wing and seen two junior ministers resign.

Corbyn said late Wednesday that he did not see "as much change as I expected" from May.

The Labour-backing Mirror newspaper said May and Corbyn would let their teams negotiate Thursday before deciding on whether to meet again face to face Friday.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament yesterday approved a law allowing Britons visa-free EU visits even after a "no deal" Brexit, despite a furious dispute over the status of Gibraltar.

The law means British visitors making trips of fewer than 90 days to the Schengen passport-free zone will not need visas, even if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal in place.

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