Soft Brexit talks with Labour risk cabinet split

Evarado Alatorre
Febrero 11, 2019

Theresa May has effectively ruled out Labour's ideas for a compromise Brexit plan, shutting off another potential route to a deal as business groups warned that with less than 50 days to go the departure process was entering the "emergency zone".

It also recognises the development of the UK's independent trade policy, she added.

'If she is unable to adopt a sensible deal because it would split the Tories, then the answer is quite simple: there must be a general election, ' Mr Corbyn said.

Mrs May rejected automatically following European Union rules on workers' rights and environmental protection but "in the interest of building support across the House" she said the Government is prepared to commit to asking Parliament if it wishes to follow suit if standards change.

She said: "I am not clear why you believe it would be preferable to seek a say in future European Union trade deals rather than the ability to strike our own deals?"

Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, refused on Sunday to rule out resigning from the Cabinet if May switches position and backs a customs union.

An amendment being pushed in Parliament on Thursday would oblige the PM to bring her package back before MPs by February 26 - even if she has not managed to get any more concessions from the EU.

He has also faced pressure from some of his MPs to push for another public vote on Brexit.

Asked if she could stay in office if the Government backed a customs union she said: "I absolutely do not think that should be our policy".

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But in an effort to see off attempts to bind the government's hands, Downing Street is promising another opportunity to table amendments, which are likely to include measures aimed at taking a no-deal Brexit off the table, on February 27.

However, there is no commitment to hold a binding vote on the deal itself by the end of the month.

She said the existing Political Declaration - the part of the Brexit deal setting out the goals for the future UK-EU relationship - "explicitly provides for the benefits of a customs union - no tariffs, fees, charges or quantitative restrictions across all sectors and no checks on rules of origin".

Pro-EU Tories Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston both said ministers should "step up" this week to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

"We have got to put a hard stop into this running down the clock", Sir Keir told the Sunday Times.

The move is in response to fears that Mrs May is engaged in a "cynical" attempt to run down the clock and leave politicians with a stark choice between her deal of crashing out on March 29.

Asked if May thus realised she needed more Labour votes, Stewart said: "Certainly, the maths suggest that to get this through we're going to need support from all around the house". 'There needs to be a day when Parliament says that's it, enough is enough'.

In a speech in Coventry, Mr Corbyn said Labour's plan "could win the support of Parliament and bring the country together" but Mrs May has so far "chosen the path of division".

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