Labour leader says "the whole nation" would rather wait beyond March 2019 for a better deal.
LONDON — Jeremy Corbyn has described the deadline for Britain leaving the EU as "completely unnecessary," telling Theresa May that the "whole country" would rather wait for a better deal.
The Labour leader called on the prime minister to drop the "unnecessary exit date deadline of the 29th March 2019" from the text of the EU Withdrawal Bill.
He added: "I'm sure the whole House and indeed probably the whole country would rather get the best possible deal a little bit later if that meant a better deal for peoples' jobs and the economy."
The prime minister accused Corbyn of disrespecting the result of the referendum.
"He started off by saying he wanted to uphold the referendum and then later in his comments he said he doesn't want to accept the leave date of the 29th March 2019," May told MPs,
"We're leaving the European Union on that date. That is what the British people voted for and that is what this government is going to put in place."
Extending or repealing Article 50 — the process by which Britain will leave the EU — would require the unanimous agreement of the other 27 EU states.
Corbyn is the latest senior Labour figure to soften the party's position on Brexit. This morning Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said that Labour wanted to stay inside a reformed single market, while Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer left the door open for a second Brexit referendum when questioned by Andrew Marr on Sunday.