The date for the UK to physically divorce the European Union has changed multiple times in a very short period. As British MPs struggle to find a consensus on what may be best for the UK public and which future relationship with Europe may be best to pursue, the date of Brexit itself has been shifted from March 29th to April 12th – and the way things are transpiring, many are assuming the UK could leave around May 22nd, in time for European Parliamentary elections. Having put her own deal for Brexit to the vote three times without an agreement, Prime Minister Theresa May has now made the decision to offer an olive branch of sorts to her rival – opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.
May and Corbyn will reportedly work together to discuss a way forward which will attempt to create the best of all worlds for all sides of the Brexit debate. Corbyn and May both want to press on with Brexit – but both have some conflicting views on what a deal should look like. Corbyn, for example, has emphasized that he wishes for there to be a customs union in place, and that he wants UK workers and EU workers in the UK to have their rights prioritized as a deal or plan is being drawn up.
Corbyn: 'I look forward to meeting the Prime Minister later' [video: ODN]
May is hoping for some form of modification to her deal that she can put back through Parliament. It’s thought that her decision to meet Corbyn across party lines has created deeper division within her own party, however, some political analysts say that this may be the next logical step to take. Meanwhile, the EU has stated that an extension to Brexit beyond April 12th would be honored in the event of, for example, a second referendum on the divorce, or a General Election. May has categorically stated that a second vote will not be taking place – though Corbyn and his Labour Party have been aligning themselves with such an idea.
May’s struggles to get a Brexit deal through Parliament come as division over what is best for all continues to reverberate. With DUP and hard-right Conservative MPs pushing for a harder deal, with the Irish backstop continuing to create problems, and with some MPs still looking for Article 50 to be revoked – or for no-deal Brexit to be avoided at all costs – Brexit continues to be the most complex and perhaps fractured political saga in modern UK history. Where will it all end?