In a dramatic about-face, British Prime Minister Theresa May has sought a meeting with opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to find a way forward on Brexit. Corbyn later accepted her invitation to meet.
The dramatic move came as MPs in parliament failed again to reach a consensus on what path to follow on Brexit. The move infuriated the Tory right and the DUP, the party from Northern Ireland that has kept May in power with their ten votes.
Experts believe that two-thirds of Labour MPs and half of the Tory Party would have to vote yes to a joint Corbyn and May proposal for it to pass. If it did she would present it to the EU next week and have it through the British parliament by May 22.
May stated the meeting with Corbyn would be in the context of agreeing on the original Brexit document which would include the Northern Ireland backstop and result in an open border between Ireland north and south.
"I'm offering to sit down with the Leader of the Opposition to try to agree a plan that we would both stick to, to ensure that we leave the European Union and that we do so with a deal,” she stated.
DUP leaders who had been campaigning for a hardline Brexit that would have created a new physical border in Ireland were incensed with May’s decision to leave them and hardline Tories by the wayside.
The DUP in a statement said May’s “lamentable handling” of the negotiations with the EU had been a complete failure and it “to be seen if sub-contracting out the future of Brexit to Jeremy Corbyn, someone whom the Conservatives have demonised for four years, will end happily.
DUP statement "The Prime Minister’s lamentable handling of the negotiations with the EU means she has failed to deliver a sensible Brexit deal that works for all parts of the UK."— DUP (@duponline) April 2, 2019
Full statement & get involved @ https://t.co/EvnIayoCXB pic.twitter.com/4DlJSPy20O
“We want the result of the referendum respected, and just as we joined the common market as one country we must leave the EU as one country,” it added.
Glad Theresa May has decided to ditch the ERG and DUP version of Brexit. Really important now that we see real leadership from across the Westminster parliament. The bottom line is still clear - the Good Friday Agreement and frictionless border needs to be protected.— Colum Eastwood (@columeastwood) April 2, 2019
The SDLP leader Colum Eastwood in a tweet stated he was glad May “has decided to ditch the ERG (Tory Right Wingers) and DUP version of Brexit.” He said it was really important now that we see “real leadership” from across the Westminster parliament. “The bottom line is still clear – the Good Friday agreement and frictionless border needs to be protected,” said Eastwood.