Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

‘No chance’ May will accept Labour’s customs union vision, says Leadsom

‘No chance’ May will accept Labour’s customs union vision, says Leadsom

She said it was possible to pass bills "quite quickly" with "goodwill" from the Commons and Lords, but added: "It's just not possible to say how quickly it could be done, but obviously it depends on the way in which there is adequate debate on the meaningful vote and that's what the Prime Minister is determined to do".

Labour's Brexit policy chief Keir Starmer told the Sunday Times newspaper that his party would seek to use the debate in parliament this week to prevent May from waiting until the last minute to come back with a deal, and compel her to present a fresh accord for lawmakers to consider before February 26.

Mr Barclay and Mr Barnier had agreed to further talks "in the coming days", a statement from the Department for Exiting the European Union said.

Justice Minister Rory Stewart told the BBC that differences between the two parties aren't as great as some suggest, but said the Conservative government can't accept Mr Corbyn's customs union demand because it would prevent Britain from negotiating trade deals with other countries.

DIT says that with the agreement the British vehicle industry, which has consistently warned against a no-deal Brexit, could avoid up to £8m a year in tariff charges on their exports that would apply if the agreement had not been reached.

European Union leaders stuck to their guns on Wednesday (30 January), insisting that the Brexit Withdrawal agreement rejected by UK MPs would not be renegotiated.

Mrs May told the Labour leader: "It is good to see that we agree that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union with a deal and that the urgent task at hand is to find a deal that honours our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland, can command support in Parliament and can be negotiated with the EU - not to seek an election or second referendum".

Boris Johnson (pictured inset top) offered Theresa May a sliver of hope by saying he could said he could vote for her deal - if she can get a time limit on the backstop.

Negotiations of a kind have also been taking place back in Westminster, with an exchange of letters between Mrs May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

May urges United Kingdom lawmakers: Give me more time to get Brexit deal
The backstop is the main obstacle to securing agreement on the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the EU. It is planned he will have dinner with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier later this evening.

Last month, the Parliament approved an amendment that supported most of the deal but called for backstop - a last-resort option to prevent a hard border in Ireland to be replaced with "alternative arrangements". He has also faced pressure from some of his MPs to push for another public vote on Brexit.

"To pretend that you could do so is a risky delusion", Fox said.

Nevertheless, the Prime Minister told Mr Corbyn she looked forward to their teams meeting "as soon as possible".

The existing Political Declaration - the part of the Brexit deal setting out the goals for the future UK-EU relationship - "explicitly provides for the benefits of a customs union - no tariffs, fees, charges or quantitative restrictions across all sectors and no checks on rules of origin", said the PM.

"I don't see that in the letter", he said.

May will ask lawmakers on Thursday to reaffirm that they support her bid to renegotiate the backstop, a government source said.

"He now wants to frustrate Brexit very largely by staying in a permanent customs union".

Mr Baker said the talks had been "constructive".

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