May says Brexit talks with Labour “mean compromise on both sides”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May says that the Government and the Labour Party both agreed on “ending free movement, ensuring we leave with a good deal, protecting jobs, protecting security,” while adding that finding a deal that will have the support of Parliament “will mean compromise on both sides,” and, “I believe that delivering Brexit is the most important thing for us.” 

The talks between the Government and Labour party are due to continue this week as they seek to find a compromise on a Brexit deal. 

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said on Monday morning, “As I understand it there will be conversations that continue today and we need those conversations to proceed and I hope (they) reach a sensible conclusion.”

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn commented saying that his party was “engaging in good faith to find an alternative Brexit plan that can bring people together and get us through this crisis,” adding, “A sensible Brexit compromise that works for the whole country is still possible. 

"But if Theresa May and her Government are genuinely prepared to work together for the public good, they need to show us they are prepared to make the real changes to their deal that her statement on Tuesday promised.” Corbyn will today meet with Sinn Fein’s leaders in London.

Elsewhere, Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti told Sky News, “So far our impression is that Mrs May has not moved an inch on her red lines. That is worrying to me because the clock is running down.” 

Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said on Sunday that talks have been “positive and hopeful,” adding, “But we are currently waiting for the government to come back to us now to state whether they are prepared to move on any of their red lines.” Long-Bailey also said that voting to revoke Article 50 is something that the Labour Party “considers very, very strongly,” adding that “[Labour] keeps all options in play to keep no deal off the table.”

Meanwhile, House of Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said about May’s stance on joining a customs union with the EU, “There are various different types of arrangement and those discussions are still ongoing…My expectation – and I’m not party to the discussions – is that the prime minister will only seek to agree those things that still constitute Brexit.” 

She also commented on a potential No Deal scenario saying, “The civil service has done an amazing job of ensuring that we minimise the problems. I’m not an advocate for No Deal, but it would not be nearly as bad as many like to think it would be.”

 Leadsom said the UK holding European elections was “utterly unacceptable,” while Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, said a longer Brexit extension would be purgatory, adding, “I think the British public are going to be pretty horrified if we go into more limbo than we’ve already had.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said on Sunday,“We should be open to listen to suggestions that others have made, and some in the Labour party have suggested others. We have to be prepared to discuss,” adding, “Our approach to these discussions is that we have no red lines, we go in to these talks with an open mind and discuss everything with them in a constructive fashion.”

Elsewhere, the UK media reports that May intends to offer Corbyn a Brexit deal with a customs union arranged enshrined in law. The arrangement would ensure that any future Prime Minister would have to overturn primary legislation with majority support from MPs in order to exit the customs union and seek a harder Brexit.

The Bill tabled by Yvette Cooper will have its committee, report stage and third reading in the House of Lords today, after having been passed in the House of Commons last week. If it becomes law, May will be required to table a motion pledging to request an Article 50 extension. 

However, May has already requested an extension until 30 June in a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk on Friday.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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