WITH JUST a month to go before Britain is due to leave the European Union, both the country’s main parties have shifted their positions on Brexit. Theresa May, whose maxim as prime minister has been that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, has offered Parliament a chance to forestall such an outcome. Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn, who has long resisted the calls of Labour Party members to back a second referendum, has said that in some circumstances Labour would support one.

In a statement to Parliament on February 26th Mrs May said that MPs would get another chance to vote on her draft exit deal by March 12th. If they reject it, as they did last month by a large margin, she said that she would put forward a motion by March 13th to leave with no deal. If that motion is rejected—as straw polls of MPs suggest it would be—the government would on March 14th put forward a motion to request a “short, limited extension” to the Article 50 Brexit negotiations. Mrs May said that such an extension would run “not beyond the end of June”, to avoid dragging Britain into this spring’s elections to the European Parliament. Her plans therefore do not rule out a no-deal exit, but rather give MPs the chance to postpone it for three months.

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