BREXIT. Backstop. Canada Plus. Indicative vote. Over the last two years, we have all become familiar with the new words that have been invented to describe the process of leaving the EU. And now we have another one to add to the glossary of chaos: flextension. Expect to hear a lot more of it in the next few days.

The word describes – pretty accurately – the response the EU is expected to give to the Prime Minister’s request for a further delay to Brexit. Theresa May is now proposing the UK’s departure will not happen until June 30, with the option of leaving earlier if she can get her deal through the Commons. But Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, is expected to propose a longer, year-long, flexible extension with the option of cutting it short in the event of a deal. In other words: a flextension.

For some on the extreme wing of Leave, the idea of a flextension is yet more evidence that the EU wants to extend the process so we end up with a soft Brexit or never leave. It is also clear that in making the request for an extension in the way she has, the PM has one eye – as ever – on the Brexiteers and splits in her party. She could have asked for a longer extension herself, but that could have been the last straw for the Leavers in her cabinet. Instead, the PM wants to create the impression that it is the EU and not the UK that is responsible for the longer extension; she therefore hopes to buy herself a little more time with the enemies in her party.

As tactics go, it is one of Mrs May’s better strategic moves, although that is not saying much given she has set the bar so low. Her only approach in the last two years seems to have been to push a supposed binary choice between her deal and no deal, but her tactic appears to have finally failed now that the Commons has supported two different choices: a deal or an extension.

However, the reality is the proposed extension, flexible or not, does nothing to change the fundamentals. In her letter to Mr Tusk, the PM described how she had opened talks with Jeremy Corbyn to achieve a consensus without acknowledging she could have – and should have – done this two years ago. Mrs May talks about compromise but she has still not shown any sign that she is willing to do it.

Perhaps the negotiation with Labour is a sign of a new direction, although, sadly, there are some signs from inside the process that the Government is not prepared to move very much at all. The Tories may be in talks with Labour at last, but has Theresa May really budged on her belief that she can get her way in the end?

From the EU’s point of view, offering Mrs May the 12-month extension makes perfect sense. It would appear that the PM would prefer to ask for many little extensions – a cliff-edge followed by another cliff-edge – but the EU does not want to have to keep having meetings about Article 50 every few weeks until Mrs May can pass her deal. On the face of it, Mr Tusk’s flextension would appear to be the perfect compromise.

The question now, of course, is whether all the EU states will agree to it. The French President Emmanuel Macron is already making some negative noises and the road to a unanimous decision will not be smooth. But if it is offered, Mrs May will have little option but to accept.

In the end, though, it will only work if Mrs May uses the extra time effectively and it is hard to see how Labour and the Conservatives can make a deal without the PM compromising on membership of the customs union and a second referendum. A flextension is the only reasonable way forward, but it will only work if the Prime Minister is able – finally – to be flexible herself.