They’re failing, but at least they’re trying.
This, in a nutshell, is the May-Corbyn apologia, as laid out by the two leaders’ dwindling band of supporters, aides and confidants who are still clinging to the idea that Brexit can be “sorted” and British politics reset to normal.
For weeks the government has been in talks with Labour to find a compromise Brexit deal. On Monday they broke up for the night with “no substantive progress.” Even Chancellor Philip Hammond, who favors a soft Brexit deal with Labour, has reportedly admitted the talks are based on the “false premise” a deal can be reached.
Today a group of more than a dozen senior Tories wrote to May warning that the party would split if she tried to push through a customs union deal struck with Labour. “We urge you to think again,” they wrote.
Those on the inside are no more optimistic. “[There] might be a deal to be done though I’m not sure it’s on a viable timeline or can hold together to bring a sufficient number of parties on either side along with it,” one senior official familiar with the state of the negotiations told POLITICO.
At the launch of Labour’s European election campaign Corbyn urged voters to stick with the traditional political divisions.
A second senior official was more blunt. “Philip Hammond may be an objectionable bastard but he’s normally right, and if even he thinks there’s no chance of a deal then there’s no chance.”
Yet the likely failure of the talks should not be added to the already lengthy charge sheet against the two party leaders,