Britain's Brexit drama went into overtime Wednesday as Theresa May and the country's main opposition sought a compromise deal to prevent an abrupt British departure from the EU at the end of next week. In an about-face that left pro-Brexit members of May's Conservative Party howling with outrage, May sought to forge an agreement with left-wing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn after failing three times to win Parliament's backing for her Brexit deal. Both the government and Labour called the two-hour meeting "constructive" and said their teams would hold more in-depth talks Thursday. May's office said both sides had shown "flexibility and a commitment to bring the current Brexit uncertainty to a close." Corbyn, more muted, said, "the meeting was useful but inconclusive. There hasn't been as much change as I expected."
May also said she would ask the EU for a further delay to Britain's departure date to avert a chaotic and economically damaging no-deal Brexit on April 12. May's pivot toward Labour points Britain toward a softer Brexit than the one she has championed since British voters decided in June 2016 to leave the EU, reports the AP. Labour wants the UK to remain in the EU's customs union—a trading area that sets common tariffs on goods coming into the bloc while allowing free trade in goods moving between member states. May has always ruled that out, saying it would limit Britain's ability to forge an independent trade policy. "A no deal on 12 April at midnight looks more and more likely," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday.
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