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May courts European leaders ahead of Brexit day

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published 2 weeks ago - Duration: 02:13s

May courts European leaders ahead of Brexit day

British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday to argue for a Brexit delay while her ministers hold crisis talks with the opposition to try to break the deadlock in London.

Michelle Hennessy reports.

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May courts European leaders ahead of Brexit day

It's crunch time for Theresa May.

Arguably now Britain's weakest leader in a generation - is facing one of her toughest weeks yet.

On Tuesday (April 9) she'll head to Germany and France, to make her case for a Brexit delay to Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.

An emergency EU summit on Wednesday (April 10) will decide if the bloc is ready to grant that extension.

If any of the other 27 member states veto that decision - Britain will breakaway on Friday (April 12) night - without a deal.

While she courts France and Germany, back home her Conservative ministers will be holding crisis talks with the opposition.

May sparked uproar with some lawmakers in her own party, by announcing the talks with their rivals in parliament.

Her aim is to end the deadlock over her Brexit plan, which has already been rejected three times by lawmakers.

But the Labour party wants to keep Britain in a closer relationship with the bloc than many Conservatives would want.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITAIN'S OPPOSITION LABOUR LEADER, JEREMY CORBYN, SAYING: "The problem is that the government doesn't seem to be moving off the original red lines." Her talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn are yet to amount to anything meaningful.

And in a further blow to May, lawmakers on Monday (April 8) approved a Brexit bill that goes against the wishes of her government.

It gives lawmakers the chance to make legally binding changes to May's requested departure date.

She asked the EU to delay Brexit day until June 30th.

The government will now be forced to hold a debate on that - which is scheduled for Tuesday.

And while May does still have some freedom to agree a different date with the EU, the passage of the bill overturns the balance of power in British politics.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LORD FRAMLINGHAM, SAYING: "This Bill is telling our prime minister what to do, a classic case of the tail wagging the dog and of constitutional chaos." The government usually has sole control of the parliament's agenda, and control over what laws are passed.

It's highlighting once again a deeply divided parliament, in a deeply divided country.

Which could undermine May's attempts to prove to the EU that she can get a majority agreement back home.

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