Labour: 'Government has failed to compromise' in Brexit talks

PUBLISHED: 17:55 05 April 2019 | UPDATED: 18:08 05 April 2019

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn walk through the Palace of Westminster following the State Opening of Parliament in June. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Archive

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn walk through the Palace of Westminster following the State Opening of Parliament in June. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Archive

PA Archive/PA Images

Labour has said that the government is offering no change to its Brexit proposals, despite two day of talks.

Speaking during a visit to south Wales to mark his party’s victory in the Newport West by-election, Jeremy Corbyn said: “There’s been no obvious move on the side of the government as of yet, we’re continuing those talks.”

He added: “We have to bring an end to this process so there is a degree of security and certainty to people all across Britain.”

Labour’s frustration with the progress of the talks was evident after an exchange of letters with the government on Friday.

Sir Keir said: “So far, the government isn’t proposing any changes to the deal. In particular, it’s not countenancing any changes to the actual wording of the Political Declaration.

“Now obviously that’s disappointing; compromise requires change. We want the talks to continue and we’ve written in those terms to the government, but we do need change if we’re going to compromise.”

The party has now opened nominations for candidates to stand in the European elections.

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart, however, told BBC Radio 4’s PM there was “quite a lot of life” left in the process of talks with Labour.

“I know that there are going to be tensions,” he said, but added: “In truth the positions of the two parties are very, very close and where there’s good will it should be possible to get this done and get it done relatively quickly.”

He insisted that “of course we are prepared to compromise” on the political declaration.

Jo Stevens MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said: “It was right for the Government and Labour to consider alternatives to the prime minister’s broken Brexit deal, but it is no surprise that an attempt to force an agreement inside a few days seems to have failed.

“The government must now take up the proposal from Donald Tusk for a ‘flextension’ of the Article 50 deadline.

“This would give the government the time it needs to properly negotiate a Brexit deal, MPs the time they need to scrutinise it, and – with the eventual approval of Parliament – the public the chance to sign off any deal in a confirmatory referendum.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that every version of Brexit will inevitably leave millions of voters disappointed or disillusioned. Any Brexit deal will break many of the promises made in the last referendum, cause real costs to our economy or to our sovereignty, and continue the chaos of endless negotiations as we seek to make sense of something that makes no sense for Britain.

“At the end of this process there must be a People’s Vote on whatever deal is agreed by parliament, so that the public get the final say.”

Best for Britain supporter Alex Sobel MP said: “With just days until Article 50 currently expires it is disappointing but perhaps unsurprising to see that the PM’s offer of cross party talks seems to have been a delay tactic rather than a meaningful offer of a way to break the deadlock.

“The country is embroiled in a crisis and yet Theresa May remains utterly incapable of compromise. This goes to show her determination to run down the clock in a desperate attempt to force MPs into backing her discredited deal. We must stand firm and show her this won’t work.

“This crisis requires compromise and time to reach a sensible resolution. Theresa May must go to the European Council and ask for a longer extension to avoid the current cliff edge. It’s time for MPs to take back control and ensure that we can find a stable solution for our country. That means using this time to go back to the British people and give them the final say on Brexit.”

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