May offers Corbyn further Brexit talks in attempt to secure deal

11 Février, 2019, 12:21 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Sir Keir Starmer

Mr Corbyn took many in Westminster by surprise when he wrote to Mrs May laying out his terms for Labour to support a Brexit deal.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay will be in Brussels later today to meet the EU's Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has written to the Prime Minister setting out his demands for a Brexit deal he could support, accused Mrs May of an "utterly cynical" approach.

In his letter to Mrs May, the Labour leader set out five demands, including a permanent customs union and close alignment with the single market.

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".

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

The existing Political Declaration, setting out the goals for the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU, "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", Mrs May told Mr Corbyn.

The Prime Minister 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?"

Mrs May has previously ruled out a customs union, which would restrict the UK's ability to strike trade deals, and could face Cabinet resignations if she changed her position.

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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".

In her response to Corbyn, May made a concession on environmental and workers' rights, discounting his idea of automatic alignment with European Union standards but suggesting instead a Commons vote every time these change.

It remains likely that Parliament would vote down the deal as it now stands.

It comes as the government promised MPs more Brexit votes before the end of February amid claims Mrs May is trying to run down the clock.

But the Prime Minister is expected to offer MPs a further chance to vote on non-binding amendments which could influence her Brexit strategy on February 27.

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

Corbyn said that without an election "we will keep all options on the table - as agreed in our conference motion -including the option of a public vote". Mr Starmer said his plan was necessary to put a "hard stop" to Mrs May "running down the clock" before the March 29 deadline.

While the prime minister made it plain she did not want this, several newspapers on Monday said May had held open the door to the issue, and thus the idea of a softer Brexit. However, the reality is that she is using up the remaining time to try and impose a binary choice between her deal and no deal.

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