Brexit latest: British gov’t outlines latest position in talks with opposition Labour

The British government on Monday sent another document to the opposition Labour Party to outline its latest position on the cross-party talks in order to break the current Brexit deadlock.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said that only a cross-party pact would see MPs agree a deal in parliament, which already rejected May’s Brexit deal with the European Union (EU) three times since January.

May said on Sunday that her talks with the opposition Labour Party on Brexit, which started last Wednesday, would mean “compromise on both sides.”

Talks between Downing Street and the Labour team were expected to be reopened Monday evening following a hiatus. But there was no sign of a breakthrough in talks between teams of negotiators for the prime minister and the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Three days of talks ended on Friday without an agreement on how to push forward the Brexit process.

The talks have been taking place to try to find a proposal to put to British MPs which could break the Brexit deadlock in the House of Commons before an emergency EU summit on Wednesday.

May had hoped to put a deal to the House of Commons Tuesday night. But if nothing is agreed, Britain could either crash out without a deal on Friday or be forced to accept a longer extension and commit to holding the European elections, which May has repeatedly vowed to avoid.

May’s deputy spokeswoman said that the government was aiming for “formal discussions” with Corbyn’s team later.

“There has been further contact over the weekend,” she said. “Our intention is to engage further with the Opposition today. And given the need for urgency we hope that will lead to further formal discussions”

Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer who is a key figure in the cross-party talks, said a way forward was eluding the teams so far.

“We haven’t found that yet,” he said, adding that it was down to the British government to make the next move.

Labour wants Britain to remain a permanent member of a customs union with the EU, which would mean zero customs tariffs and a single joint trade policy. However, the Tories want to leave the customs union so that Britain can strike unilateral trade deals.

Tories are concerned about the prime minister singing up to a second referendum, but Corbyn is under pressure to insist on one.

Britain is currently due to leave the EU on April 12 and, as yet, no withdrawal deal has been approved by British lawmakers.

The Brexit date was already pushed back from March 29 to April 12. The prime minister wants to move the Brexit date from April 12 to June 30, but EU leaders will give her a longer extension, which she does not prefer.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Monday May was leaving “no stone unturned” to try to resolve the Brexit problem.

Arriving in Luxembourg for a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council, Hunt said, “I can’t tell you that I’m very confident or not confident. We are going into these talks sincerely and we have to see what the outcome is.”

EU leaders are divided about what to do if the British politicians fail to strike a deal among themselves.