Prime Minister Theresa May and her arch-adversary Jeremy Corbyn agreed to put aside their political differences and work together to try to resolve the Brexit crisis gripping Britain.

The U.K. premier and the leader of the main opposition Labour Party met for more than an hour on Wednesday in talks that both sides described as “constructive.” They agreed to appoint negotiating teams and to draw up a plan of further work, which will continue with discussions on Thursday.

The cross-party initiative represents a rare – if still weak – glimmer of positive news after months of deadlock over the U.K.’s disorganized divorce from the European Union. The split was due to have taken place March 29, but Parliament repeatedly refused to agree to the terms that May spent two years negotiating with the bloc and has failed to come up with an alternative plan.

The impasse led May to ask Corbyn to join her and help write a new blueprint for Brexit. Speaking after their first meeting, which took place with senior officials in Parliament, Corbyn said the discussions had been “useful but inconclusive.”

“I put forward the view from the Labour Party that we want to achieve a customs union with the EU, access to the single market and dynamic regulatory alignment, that is a guarantee of European regulations as a minimum on the environment, consumer and workers’ rights,” he said.

May has previously ruled out membership of a customs union because it would ruin a key goal of Brexit – to set Britain free from European tariffs, to be able to strike trade deals around the world. On Wednesday, May was attacked by pro-Brexit members of her own party for opening the door to Corbyn’s vision of a so-called soft Brexit.

In his resignation letter to May, Minister Nigel Adams said the government was failing to deliver the “Brexit people voted for” and increasing the risk of the “calamity of a Corbyn government.”

Corbyn said he also raised the option of another referendum to stop an economically damaging no-deal exit, or a departure with what he called a “bad deal.”

The Labour leader said he was surprised that May had not moved much from her negotiating red lines, but both sides issued statements noting a positive atmosphere and a commitment to further work.

“Today’s talks were constructive, with both sides showing flexibility and a commitment to bring the current Brexit uncertainty to a close,” a spokesman for May said in a statement. “We have agreed a program of work to ensure we deliver for the British people, protecting jobs and security.”

Time is short to reach an agreement. May needs to be able to present a new plan to EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on April 10 to persuade them to give the U.K. more time to prepare to leave the bloc. European leaders have already agreed to extend the Brexit deadline once.

On Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Parliament must back the exit deal with a “viable majority” by April 12 for May to get the extra delay that she wants until May 22.

Parliament has rejected May’s divorce deal three times, with Corbyn’s Labour consistently voting against it. She has tried cross-party talks before, but they broke up without success. A process allowing members of Parliament to try to come up with their own answer has also failed to reach a consensus.

On Wednesday, rank-and-file politicians began debating a draft law that would stop Britain leaving the EU without an agreement and force May to seek to delay exit day. Members of the House of Commons narrowly voted to rush the draft law through its various stages of scrutiny in one day. Voting on whether the law should progress to its next stage in the upper house of Parliament, the House of Lords, was expected later on Wednesday.


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