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Brexit talks between the Government and Labour set to collapse without a deal

Brexit talks between the Government and Labour set to collapse without a deal
2 min read

Talks between the Government and Labour aimed at agreeing a joint approach to Brexit are set to break up without a deal, PoliticsHome understands.

The negotiations, which have been going on since the end of March, could break down as early as Friday.

Senior Labour sources said on Thursday that they were not going to walk away "imminently" - leaving the door open to the party pulling the plug at some point in the next few days.

If the talks do end without a deal, MPs are likely to be given a series of so-called "indicative votes" on different Brexit options in the hope of securing a Commons majority for one of them.

Numerous meetings have taken place between officials and senior frontbenchers on both sides over the past six weeks, but major differences remain.

In particular, the Government refused to agree to Labour's demand for a permanent post-Brexit customs union with the EU.

Theresa May has also rejected calls for a so-called "confirmatory ballot", effectively a second referendum, to be held on a final Brexit deal.

Labour negotiators had also insisted that any deal agreed with the Government - which they also wanted to contain guarantees on workers' rights and environmental standards - must contain provisions preventing a future Tory leader from being able to tear them up.

Meanwhile, BBC Newsnight's Nick Watt also reported that Tory whips believe a deal with Labour was not possible.

The chances of a deal diminished further when Theresa May announced that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill will be voted on my MPs in the first week of June regardless of whether an agreement with Labour has been reached.

Mrs May has also agreed to begin the countdown towards her departure from Downing Street following talks with senior Tory MPs.

The Prime Minister will sit down with Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, following the WAB vote.

A number of Tory MPs have already confirmed they will join the race to succeed Mrs May, including Boris Johnson and Esther McVey.

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