May's Brexit talks with Labour stall, delay request fails to convince EU

European Union leaders warned Mrs May had not convinced them that they should let Britain delay its departure next week, on April 12.

Downing Street released May's request moments after a senior EU official told AFP that Tusk was proposing to postpone Brexit day by up to a year, also pending parliament's approval of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement. Unable to convince her allies to back her own deal - Parliament has rejected it on three separate occasions - she's turned to Corbyn for help.

Labour Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said his party wanted the talks to go on, and a spokesman for May's office said the government had "made serious proposals" in the talks and wanted them to continue over the weekend "in order to deliver a deal that is acceptable to both sides".

But she conceded that this process could take time and will probably force Britain to take part in European Parliament elections at the end of May, almost three years after United Kingdom voters opted to leave the bloc.

May is racing against the clock in a desperate bid to get her deal approved in time for an European Union leaders' summit in Brussels on Wednesday, when a formal decision on any extension will be made.

The Brexit vote exposed deep fractures in British society, though the crisis it triggered has also shown a political system in dire need of reform.

An official in the French presidency said earlier that Macron, who has taken a stern line on the conditions for any further Brexit delay, was "waiting for a credible plan between now and the [EU] summit on April 10, when we will study the request".

"Outside our central scenario, we think the risks are skewed decisively in the direction of a longer Article 50 extension and a softer Brexit end-state than originally envisaged by Prime Minister May", they wrote.

May said in her letter that Britain is reluctantly ready to begin preparations for the European elections if no Brexit deal is reached in the interim.

The Europeans would prefer that Britain don't take part in the May 23-26 EU elections if it is going to leave. Her withdrawal plan, agreed with the European Union over more than two years of delicate negotiations, has been rejected by Parliament three times, leading to the current political and legal impasse.

May's team is now holding negotiations with leaders from Britain's main opposition Labour Party in a bid to secure enough votes to push through her deal on a fourth attempt. The Labour Party said in a statement Friday it is "disappointed" that May's team is not offering real change.

Hammond said he hoped talks with the opposition Labour Party would very quickly allow an understanding of whether a cross-party deal was viable.

Labour has called for any departure deal to ensure the protection of the "exact same benefits" as the United Kingdom now has as a member of the EU's single market and customs union.