Prime minister Theresa May is gearing up to request a further Brexit delay from the EU, as she embarks on talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to seek support for her deal.
May and Corbyn were due to hold talks later on Wednesday with the possibility of figuring out a common position by the end of the week. Any deal would then be presented to the EU at a summit next week with the aim of leaving on 22 May and avoiding European parliamentary elections.
If that fails, No 10 will move to holding a series of votes in parliament on options, including a runoff between her deal and alternatives such as a customs union, while agreeing to abide by the results.
Corbyn said he was "very happy" to talk to May about Labour's vision for Brexit, which would include a permanent customs union and stronger workers' rights protections.
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said the "remorseless logic" of MP numbers in the House of Commons meant the UK was heading for an "undesirable" soft Brexit, or closer links with the EU.
The PM's move to hold talks has angered some Brexiteers, with Wales Minister Nigel Adams resigning his role.The move further risks tearing up the Conservative party.
The PM is also due to meet Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has called for long extension to work out the way forward - and a public vote on any deal. Following the PM's announcement, prominent Brexiteer Boris Johnson accused May of "entrusting the final handling of Brexit to Labour".
However, as the UK tries to find a way out of the maelstrom, the EU is set to draw up strict conditions to offer a long Brexit extension.
A key ally of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has called for EU leaders to reject Theresa May's appeal for a further short delay to Brexit, in a sign of the dangers of the prime minister's strategy.
Before a crunch summit next Wednesday, May had said she would seek an extra extension of article 50, with a likely end date of 22 May, to allow cross-party talks with Jeremy Corbyn to come to fruition.
The FT reports that Brussels is preparing to offer Theresa May a long Brexit delay with strict conditions attached, including the need to hold European Parliament elections and a possible "gentleman's agreement" over Britain's future conduct as a member state.