Brexit hangs in the balance as May’s government talks with Labour

LONDON (Reuters) – Brexit hung in the balance on Monday as Prime Minister Theresa May tried to coax the Labour Party into agreeing a divorce deal with a greater likelihood of passage by parliament, forward of a disaster EU summit the place she’s going to attempt to delay the April 12 departure.

Britain’s exit from the EU has already been delayed as soon as however May is asking the bloc for but extra time as she courts veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn, whose Labour Party desires to maintain Britain extra carefully tied to the bloc after Brexit.

May heads to Berlin and Paris on Tuesday to satisfy Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron and can be phoning different leaders earlier than setting out the case for one more delay at Wednesday’s emergency EU summit in Brussels.

Nearly three years after the United Kingdom shocked the world by voting by 52 p.c to 48 to depart the EU, May warned that Brexit would possibly by no means occur, however stated that she would do the whole lot doable to ensure it did.

“We have been in touch with the opposition today and technical talks between officials will take place this evening,” a spokesman for May stated.

Labour’s Brexit level man, Keir Starmer, stated earlier that May’s government had thus far not shifted from its purple traces on Brexit and so no method ahead had been agreed.

“Both us and the government have approached this in the spirit of trying to find a way forward. We haven’t found that yet. We will continue to do that,” Starmer stated.

May’s spokeswoman stated she needed Britain to have an impartial buying and selling coverage – one thing laborious to reconcile with Labour’s demand to maintain Britain in a customs union with the EU – and that either side would want to compromise.

The deputy political editor of the Telegraph newspaper, Steven Swinford, stated Labour and the Conservative government had been nonetheless discussing each a customs union and the thought of holding a confirmatory referendum on any deal they agree.

Both concepts are anathema to many in May’s social gathering, whose rebels have helped set off three parliamentary defeats of the withdrawal deal she negotiated with the EU final 12 months.

“We all hope that these talks will produce a positive outcome. I’ve said many times before, we can be more, much more ambitious in our future relationship with the UK,” EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier informed a information convention with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin.

Anti-Brexit protester Steve Bray is seen outdoors the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, April eight, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes


The 2016 referendum revealed a United Kingdom divided over way more than EU membership, and has sparked impassioned debate about the whole lot from secession and immigration to capitalism, empire and what it means to be British.

Yet, greater than per week after Britain was initially speculated to have left the EU, nothing is resolved as May, the weakest chief in a era, battles to break up deal ratified by a profoundly divided parliament.

EU leaders, fatigued by the serpentine Brexit disaster, should determine on Wednesday whether or not to grant May, who has requested for a postponement till June 30, an additional delay. The determination may be vetoed by any of the different 27 member states.

Without an extension, Britain is because of depart the EU at 2200 GMT on Friday, and not using a deal to cushion the financial shock.

While the EU isn’t anticipated to set off such a probably disorderly no-deal exit, diplomats stated all choices had been on the desk – from refusing a delay to granting May’s request or pushing for an extended postponement.

But May is boxed in at dwelling.

Brexiteers in her cupboard insisted on at most a brief delay, whereas Mark Francois, deputy chief of the Conservatives’ hardline eurosceptic faction in parliament, demanded she resign and referred to as on the social gathering to vote on forcing her out – despite the fact that there isn’t a formal provision to take action earlier than December.

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As the disaster grinds on, one survey prompt that voters needed a robust chief keen to drive by reform of a political system that has been discovered badly wanting by Brexit.

Research by the Hansard Society discovered that 54 p.c of voters needed a robust chief keen to interrupt the guidelines, whereas 72 p.c stated the political system wanted “quite a lot” or “a great deal” of enchancment.

Additional reporting by Andrew MacAskill, Kate Holton and Kylie MacLellan; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Mark Heinrich

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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