Published: Wed, May 15, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

United Kingdom government still preparing for 'no deal' Brexit - May's spokesman

United Kingdom government still preparing for 'no deal' Brexit - May's spokesman

The UK Government will bring forward the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week beginning June 3, a spokesman said, after Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn held fresh talks on Tuesday evening.

A Labour party spokesperson said Corbyn had raised "concerns about the prime minister's ability to deliver on any compromise agreement".

The legal default position is that Britain will leave the European Union on October 31 without a deal if an agreement has not been ratified by parliament before then.

A government spokesperson said May will put forward a Withdrawal Agreement Bill, making Brexit law in the United Kingdom, in the week of June 3, before the summer parliamentary recess in July.

At a marathon Cabinet meeting ministers agreed to continue the cross-party efforts despite Tory opposition, but stressed it was "imperative" for a Brexit deal to get through parliament by the summer.

But her ministers discussed at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday "the compromises the government was prepared to consider" and agreed to keep talking, May's spokesman said.

She indicated earlier this year that she would resign once her Brexit deal with Brussels has been passed by MPs - a promise that seemed to persuade a number of pro-Brexit Tories to back the deal, among them Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

"She has at the same time said she would step aside once she has completed phase one".

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Brexit supporters in May's divided Conservative party said her deal was as dead as her crisis-riven three-year premiership.

Asked if getting the deal through would also make that Mrs May's exit date, the spokesman said: "What she wants to do is get a deal through by the summer recess".

Some 13 former ministers, together with the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, wrote to Mrs May urging her not to risk splitting the party by conceding to Labour's key demand.

"We haven't seen the significant shift yet that we require to be able to support a deal", Labour's second most powerful man, finance chief John McDonnell, said on Tuesday.

"And of course it would absolutely split the Conservative Party".

The statement came after talks between May and Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on a possible compromise that would end a deadlock on Brexit in Parliament.

Ministers are split on whether asking parliament to choose its preferred Brexit, probably based on ranking different options, is a Trojan Horse to deliver what some see as an appalling Brexit in Name Only, a disgraceful abdication of responsibility by government, an impractical and total waste of time or a longshot that is worth exploring given that all other initiatives to secure a departure from the European Union have failed.

"We believe that a customs union-based deal with Labour will very likely lose the support of Conservative MPs", the letter said. It would be followed by negotiations on a new trade deal with the EU.

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