Brexit: Talks with Corbyn and short delay - Theresa May's next steps

Last updated at 06:17
Jeremy Corbyn alongside a picture of Theresa May.AFP/Getty Images
Prime Minister Theresa May has said that she will hold talks with the leader of the Labour party (her party's main rivals) to try to work out what to do next with Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced what she intends to do next with Brexit.

This is what she has said she is going to do:

  1. She is going to have talks with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to see if, between them, they can work together and come up with a plan for what to do next.
  2. She is going to ask European Union (EU) leaders for an extension but she says that she wants it to be "as short as possible".

Mr Corbyn said he was "very happy" to meet Mrs May, and would ensure that plans for a customs union and protection of workers' rights were on the table in their discussions. (The customs union is an arrangement between EU countries which says they do not have to pay taxes to transport goods between their countries.)

He said he has a "responsibility" to talk with her about what to do next, but some people have been critical of Mrs May working with the Labour Party like this.

It follows Theresa May having an enormous meeting with her cabinet - the collection of senior ministers who help the prime minister make decisions - where they discussed what to do next. That meeting lasted for SEVEN HOURS - longer than a lot of school days!

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson - who was also a lead campaigner for Britain to leave the EU - has said that ministers are "entrusting the final handling of Brexit to Labour".

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg explains that this could mean Mrs May is likely to compromise on having a closer relationship with the EU after Brexit than she might originally have liked.

What could happen after this?

If Mrs May and Mr Corbyn can agree on a compromise, Mrs May will take this to EU leaders to see if they are OK with it and ask for a slight delay to Brexit.

If not, it's expected that Members of Parliament (MPs) will vote on a range of options about what to do next. (Yes, more votes - a lot like the votes that happened last week.)

There will be more votes here in the House of Commons over the coming days

Currently, EU leaders are due to have a big meeting on 10 April (next Wednesday) at which they will discuss the UK's future. We will know more about what will be talked about at this meeting next week, as a lot is happening every day at the moment.

If the EU refuses to agree to what the UK has asked for, then two of the main options would be for the UK to cancel Brexit or to leave the EU with no deal in place, neither of which the government wants to do.

The options that people are talking about at the moment are:

  1. Leave with no deal - Nobody wants this to happen, but it is currently what is due to happen on 12 April unless MPs vote for, and EU leaders agree for, something else to happen.
  2. Leave the EU as per Mrs May's original Brexit deal - Mrs May's original Brexit deal has also not been permanently ruled out. If she cannot agree a compromise with Mr Corbyn and MPs are unable to decide on an alternative, it is still an option.
  3. Try to renegotiate another deal - This could take a considerable amount of time and would likely require a more significant delay to Brexit. Not only that, but it would mean the UK would have to take part in the European Parliament elections in May, which the government doesn't want to do.
  4. A second referendum - Experts at the University College London suggest this could take a minimum of 22 weeks to make happen.
  5. A general election could be called - For this to happen, two-thirds of all MPs would need to agree to it.
  6. No confidence vote - The Labour Party could formally declare that it does not have confidence in the prime minister, which could affect who takes the lead with Brexit, but a new prime minister would face the same problems that Mrs May currently faces.
  7. Brexit could be cancelled - The government is very committed to Brexit, so it is likely that there would need to another referendum or a change of government before this happened.

It all depends on what Mrs May and Mr Corbyn agree on - if anything - and what MPs vote for next week.

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