May lukewarm about Corbyn's customs union call

12 February, 2019, 12:45 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during a speech at a Labour local government conference at The Slate Warwick conferences Coventry. PRESS ASSOCIATION

That's raising questions about Mrs May's willingness to compromise with the opposition, after her letter to Jeremy Corbyn yesterday didn't rule out discussions on keeping Britain inside a customs union.

May is already due to update parliament on her progress towards a deal on Wednesday and then on Thursday to give parliament a chance to express their opinion.

Brexit minister Stephen Barclay will meet European Union negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday ahead of a crunch moment in parliament on Thursday, when lawmakers will try to force May to change course or give up control of the exit process.

Look away now if you are of a nervous disposition.

Theresa May will go before MPs today to face down calls for a delay to Brexit, amid growing unease at the impact on the economy from continued uncertainty.

Mrs May sparked the furore by penning a letter to Mr Corbyn (pictured inset bottom) saying his call for the United Kingdom to stay in a customs union would hamper free trade deals - but stopped short of ruling it out.

Mr Barclay and Mr Barnier had agreed to further talks "in the coming days", a statement from the Department for Exiting the European Union said.

I know that sounds nebulous, a word you might choose to use.

Theresa May's spokesman said the prime minister was "absolutely clear" she is not considering the plan put to her by the Labour leader (below).

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She has said she wants to bring a revised deal back to parliament for a vote "as soon as possible" but has not yet set a date for doing so.

Mrs Leadsom, an ardent Leaver, said she would stay in the Cabinet to help Mrs May deliver Brexit and denied that the PM was softening her stance over a customs union in a letter to Mr Corbyn.

She told Mr Corbyn: "It is good to see that we agree that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union with a deal and that the urgent task at hand is to find a deal that honours our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland, can command support in Parliament and can be negotiated with the EU - not to seek an election or second referendum".

"By getting the changes we need to the backstop; by protecting and enhancing workers' rights and environmental protections; and by enhancing the role of parliament in the next phase of negotiations I believe we can reach a deal that this House can support", May will say.

Oliver Holtemoeller, a co-author of the study, said that the divorce without a deal would see tariffs imposed at the border which would tangle global supply chains.

In a letter to Tory Party chair Brandon Lewis, the activists said any attempt to work with Labour to secure a deal or renege on manifesto commitments would be "catastrophic" for the party and lead to "severe electoral defeats" in the forthcoming May local elections.

Meanwhile, a group of anti-Brexit Conservative MPs and peers have written to the Prime Minister asking for a meeting to discuss the UK's exit being delayed.

Mr Baker said the talks had been "constructive".

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