Labour accuses government of refusing to compromise as Brexit deadlock continues

Posted On: 
7th May 2019

Labour has accused the Government of not being "willing to compromise" as negotiations on a joint-Brexit deal once again broke up without agreement.

Rebecca Long-Bailey (right) arrives for the latest talks with Labour colleagues Sue Hayman and John McDonnell.
PA Images

Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said the Tories were still refusing to move on their red lines and that it was still "difficult to see how any agreement can be reached".

Senior frontbenchers from both parties met in the Cabinet Office for nearly three hours as part of their ongoing attempts to thrash out a compromise to put to a Commons vote.

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Talks will resume on Wednesday, but Ms Long-Bailey said there was still no solution in sight more than a month after the negotiations began.

She said: "The Government needs to move on its red lines and we expect to make compromises, but without a government that's willing to compromise it's difficult to see how any agreement can be reached.

The Labour frontbencher insisted there was "a willingness on both sides" to find common ground, but said there was still "no movement" from the Government on the crunch issue of a post-Brexit customs union with the EU.

Ms Long-Bailey said the issue of a second referendum had formed part of the talks, but gave little indication that Labour bosses were willing back one in all circumstances, despite calls from many of the party's MPs and members.

"Our policy position hasn't changed since the last Labour conference when a public vote was one of many options to avoid a bad Tory Brexit or a no deal situation," she said.

A Downing St spokesman, however, tried to put a more positive gloss on the latest round of talks.

He said: “Today’s meeting was constructive and detailed. The teams have agreed to meet again for follow-up talks tomorrow afternoon, recognising the need to resolve the current Brexit deadlock in Parliament."