Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn Agree to Work On Brexit Breakthrough
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn Agree to Work on Brexit Breakthrough
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn – Theresa May attempted to salvage the British deal to leave the EU from the ashes of her failed Brexit strategy in a meeting with the opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday that would shift Britain into a closer relationship with Europe.
A statement after the meeting said the government and opposition would work together to come up with a joint approach. “Today’s talks were constructive, with both sides showing flexibility and a commitment to bring the current Brexit uncertainty to a close,” Mr May’s spokesman said.
“We have agreed a programme of work to ensure we deliver for the British people, protecting jobs and security.” Corbyn has had “constructive exploratory discussions about how to break the Brexit deadlock”
If the talks with Mr Corbyn fail, Mrs May plans to ask parliament to vote on a series of proposals on the form of Brexit early next week.
Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, said the government had not rule out options in advance. “We’re not setting pre-conditions, but nor is it a blank check,” he said.
Parliament meanwhile considered a bill from backbenchers that would force the government to seek a delay from the EU to Brexit if there was no agreement by April 12.
Providing a new twist to the drama that has convulsed Westminster on a daily basis for months, the parliamentarians managed to bring to a standstill the process of MPs taking control to vote on their own proposals. The vote was tied at 310-310 and the speaker cast his vote against more time.
Mrs May was battered by a mobilisation against her from within Conservative ranks. Social media was flooded with images of Conservative membership cards cut up with scissors.
Two members of the government quit becoming the 35th and 36th members of the administration to leave in the last 12 months.
Chris Heaton-Harris, a junior Brexit minister, said Wednesday that Mrs May “should have honored the result of the 2016 referendum” to leave the European Union and withdrawn as planned on March 29.
The EU extended that long-scheduled date to April 12 at Mrs May’s request, and the prime minister says she plans to ask for even more time.
Mr Heaton-Harris published his resignation letter to May saying “every time we seek an extension to this process we diminish faith in our political system.”
Another junior minister, Nigel Adams, resigned earlier Wednesday over May’s handling of Brexit.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, attempting to address internal party anger, said Britain could one day review its membership of a possible post-Brexit customs union.
Mr Cox said, while a customs union might not be desirable, Britain should go ahead if it was the only route to an orderly exit.
“The referendum said leave and leave we must,” he said, adding no nation was obliged to remain in a customs union arrangement for ever.
“If we decided, in some considerable years time that we wanted to review our membership of any such customs union if we signed it – and I’m not saying we will – that’s a matter for negotiation and discussion,” Cox said.
A delegation of smaller parties also met with Mrs May but came away declaring that no agreement on scrapping Brexit through another referendum on leaving the EU was on offer.
“Given everything we now know – and the detrimental impact Brexit will have on the UK’s economy, job opportunities and people’s livelihoods, the priority must be bringing the issue back to the people in a people’s vote – with the option to remain on the ballot paper,” a joint statement said. “We are in agreement that there is no such thing as a good Brexit and that people across the UK face being worse off.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is underlining her pledge to work “until the last hour” to secure an orderly Brexit but says it is primarily up to Britain to come up with solutions. Mrs Merkel said averting a chaotic Brexit is “in the interest of Britain but, above all, also in our own interest”.