Published: Fri, January 18, 2019
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

UK PM May reaches out to rivals in Brexit deadlock

UK PM May reaches out to rivals in Brexit deadlock

UK Defense Ministry has ordered army reservists to be placed on standby to quell potential unrest from a no-deal Brexit.

Former education secretary Justine Greening said if Article 50 were to be extended - effectively delaying the UK's exit from the European Union - a poll could be organised and legislated for within 22 weeks.

Brexiter Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist party emerged upbeat from their meetings with Theresa May in Downing Street, convinced that the prime minister was not intending to soften her position to try to attract Labour votes.

News of the briefing document comes as both May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn were under increasing pressure to pivot and back a second referendum as another week of political turmoil was set to end without agreement.

The Labour leader has set out his demands in a letter to Mrs May, in which he tells the prime minister: "I am disappointed that there have already been several briefings in which you continue to rule out a customs union". One of those present said: "We were reassured on the concerns we had; she made clear that the option of trying to strike free trade deals was a condition of a deal".

While all opposition parties oppose a "No Deal" Brexit, Jeremy refused to meet with the Prime Minister until she was prepared to rule out No Deal.

But just as May's Conservative Party is tearing itself apart over Brexit - divided by hardcore Brexiteers who just want out and those who want either a soft Brexit or no Brexit at all - Labour is riven by similar splits between "leavers" and "remainers".

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his speech during the 134th Durham Miners’ Gala
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his speech during the 134th Durham Miners’ Gala

After a 2016 referendum, in which a majority of 51.9% voted to leave Europe, May invoked Article 50 of the European Union's Treaty of Lisbon. Business groups have expressed alarm at the prospect of a no-deal exit.

"Let me explain why", she said.

"A disorderly Brexit would create such a complex situation that it is impossible for companies to prepare for all eventualities", VCI Managing Director Utz Tillmann said.

"Before there can be any positive discussions about the way forward, the government must remove clearly, once and for all, the prospect of the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit from the European Union and all the chaos that would come as a result of that", he said.

Representing Dutch farmers and agricultural producers who export goods worth more than €8 billion ($9 billion) a year, LTO Nederland said unhindered trade was crucial and called on the Dutch government to offer practical solutions. ITV News reported that opposition lawmakers were given a paper by the government that contended that staging another Brexit referendum would take a year to organize.

United Kingdom share prices were spared heavy losses as analysts said the risks of further deadlock were already priced in and some bank stocks even gained slightly, suggesting optimism for a parliamentary compromise some investors such as David Roberts, co-manager on the Liontrust Strategic Bond fund, said.

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