Theresa May is contemplating giving MPs a vote on a second Brexit referendum in an effort to break the negotiating deadlock with Labour, it has been reported. The prime minister spoke to her Cabinet in Downing Street on Monday about potentially holding a Commons vote on whether or not to have another referendum, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The newspaper said Theresa May was said to have been “pragmatic” during the meetings, telling her ministers that securing a Brexit deal with Labour is not going to be “easy”.
It reported that chief government whip Julian Smith is “confident” the government would have the numbers in the Commons to defeat any Labour attempt to hold another referendum.
Cross-party talks between Conservative and Labour negotiating teams are set to continue on Tuesday, with the UK due to leave the EU at 11pm on Friday, April 12.
But on Monday night, legislation to extend the Brexit process in a bid to avoid a no-deal scenario received royal assent and has become law.
The cross-party move, brought forward by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and others, places a legal requirement on Mrs May to seek an extension to Article 50 to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said there will be a government motion on Tuesday asking MPs to approve Mrs May’s request to the EU to delay Brexit until June 30. However, the final decision on an extension will be the EU’s.
On Tuesday, Mrs May will meet German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron ahead of a crunch EU summit on Wednesday.
All 27 remaining EU heads of government must agree to an extension if the UK is to avoid the default position of a no-deal Brexit on Friday night.
According to reports, Brexit could be delayed by nearly a year under plans being considered by EU officials.
Mrs May is expected to ask the EU for an extension to June 30 in order to get a deal through Parliament.
Ahead of Mrs May’s meetings with her French and German counterparts, details of the EU’s potential demands for another extension to the Article 50 period began to emerge in reports.
BuzzFeed News said it had seen a memo that is due to be discussed by EU 27 ambassadors and officials before Wednesday’s summit which sets out two proposals for leaders to consider.
In the first, Brexit will be delayed until May 22 if Mrs May manages to get a deal through the Commons by Friday, which is looking unlikely.
Under the second plan, which kicks in if a deal is not passed by MPs, the EU leaders could be asked to consider a nine or 12-month extension, until December 31, 2019 or March 31, 2020.