Labour expects more Brexit talks as deadline looms

Theresa May leaves church, near High Wycombe, on Sunday Image copyright Reuters

With just five days to go until the UK is due to leave the EU, Labour has said it expects to hold further talks with the government to find a Brexit deal.

Theresa May has said only a cross-party pact will get the support of a majority of MPs, as the DUP and some Tories have rejected her deal with the EU.

However, several Conservatives have strongly criticised the move.

The PM is due at an emergency summit in Brussels on Wednesday, when EU leaders will expect to hear fresh plans.

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on Friday, 12 April, at 23:00 BST.

However, on Monday, peers will continue considering a bill brought by senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper, which aims to force the PM to request a Brexit extension rather than leave the EU without a deal.

On Sunday, Mrs May tweeted a video message, explaining her decision to negotiate with Labour.

“We absolutely must leave the European Union… that means we need to get a deal over the line and that’s why we’ve been looking for new ways – a new approach – to find an agreement in Parliament,” she said.

“People didn’t vote on party lines when it came to the Brexit referendum. And I think members of the public want to see their politicians working together more often.”

While communication between the two sides is continuing, little detail has emerged from the talks.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionLabour would consider voting to revoke Article 50 to avoid no deal – shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey

On Sunday Rebecca Long-Bailey, a member of Labour’s negotiating team, described the mood as “positive and hopeful”, and indicated more talks were likely to take place early this week.

This was despite the fact government proposals “have not been compliant with the definition of a customs union”, her party’s key demand, she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.

That would allow tariff-free trade in goods with the EU but limit the UK from striking its own deals. Leaving the arrangement was a Conservative manifesto commitment.

However, Solicitor General Robert Buckland told BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour that “something approximating a customs arrangement or customs union” was the most likely outcome of the talks.

It would mean “an end to freedom of movement and… that we deliver the vast majority of the aims of Brexit, which was to leave the institutions of the European Union”, he said.

“In this particular hung Parliament none of us can get perfection,

 »