Published: Mon, May 06, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Theresa May presses Labour to reach Brexit deal, but leaks jeopardize talks

Theresa May presses Labour to reach Brexit deal, but leaks jeopardize talks

The Prime Minister admitted she understood why Conservative MPs found the decision to hold talks with Labour "uncomfortable", and said it was not what she wanted either.

Labour responded by saying any deal should be done quickly, but accused May of leaking details of the compromise under discussion and jeopardising the talks.

The government is planning to offer a "comprehensive but temporary customs arrangement" until the next election, which would allow the next prime minister to shape what happens after that.

The poll follows calls by many members including former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith for Mrs May to set an immediate date for her departure.

"We've got to be a broad party".

Nigel Farage claims 85,000 people have joined his newly-formed Brexit Party, making it "the fastest growing political force in the land". "We can't negotiate like that". Whilst we're doing that ... in the wings, all the leadership candidates are virtually threatening to tear up any deal we do.

"The very worst thing we could do at this time is a Westminster stitch-up, whether over the PM's deal or another deal".

He said his party wanted to get a deal done "as soon as possible" but needed guarantees that an agreement would not be "ripped up" by a future Conservative leader.

Meanwhile Rory Stewart, the newly appointed International Development Secretary, warned that the Tories could lose four million voters if the party takes a harder line on Brexit and tries to "outdo" Nigel Farage. Stewart suggested a split in the Tory party could be worth getting a Brexit deal done, telling the BBC's Pienaar's Politics: "Yes, there will be short-term pain".

Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, on Saturday pledged to resist any new referendum on independence from the United Kingdom just as support for secession rises.

But an EU customs union that prevented Britain from striking its own trade deals was not a viable long-term option for the world's fifth-largest economy, he said.

Senior Labour figures who back a second referendum also sounded deeply sceptical about the prospect of a deal.

Mrs May urged Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to work with her to reach a deal, writing in the Mail on Sunday: "To the leader of the opposition, I say this: let's listen to what the voters said in the elections and put our differences aside for a moment".

"I think if we can dig into the Labour vote, we can surprise even ourselves", he added.

"But I think if he wants to do it it will be actually surprisingly easy to do because our positions are very, very close".

"Now that's not to say there's [not] another way through that we've not thought of yet and we've got a very creative negotiating team and they're in place to do that, but only time will tell on that".

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