Brexit deadlock continues as Labour and Tories fail to agree deal after day of talks

Posted On: 
4th April 2019

Britain's Brexit deadlock continued after talks between the Government and Labour aimed at striking a deal broke up without agreement.

Brexit talks between Labour and the Government are continuing.
PA Images

Negotiating teams from both sides met for four-and-a-half hours for "technical" discussions on a possible agreement which could secure the backing of the Commons.

Further talks are due to take place on Friday as the search for a breakthrough ahead of next Wednesday's emergency European Council summit continues.

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A Downing Street spokesman said the discussions had been "productive" and added: "The Government and the opposition hope to meet again tomorrow for further work to find a way forward to deliver on the referendum, mindful of the need to make progress ahead of the forthcoming European Council."

Cabinet ministers David Lidington, Steve Barclay, Julian Smith and Greg Clark, plus Theresa May's chief of staff and Gavin Barwell, led the talks for the Government.

Labour's negotiating team was Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer and Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long Bailey.

Theresa May announced on Tuesday that she wanted Jeremy Corbyn's help to come up with a deal that the majority of MPs could support. 

The pair held initial discussions on Wednesday, but the Labour leader said afterwards "there hasn’t been as much change as I expected" in the Prime Minister's position.

Labour has said that any deal should involve a permanent customs union with the EU - something the Prime Minister has consistently ruled out.

But Mrs May spokesman said on Thursday: "Both parties will need to engage constructively and in a spirit of compromise if this is to be successful."

The Prime Minister has also said that if no agreement can be reached with Labour, the Government plans to give MPs a choice of various Brexit options in a series of so-called "indicative votes".

However, the chances of those taking place before next week's emergency EU council are now thought to be receding, meaning Mrs May is likely to be forced to seek a lengthy extension to Article 50 when she travels to Brussels.