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'Compromise requires change': Labour says May not offering any changes to Brexit deal

Labour is pushing May to accept a much closer post-Brexit alliance with the bloc.

Image: PA/PA Wire/PA Images

THE LABOUR PARTY has said it is “disappointed” after a third consecutive day of discussions with the UK government over Brexit ended without a breakthrough.

“So far the government isn’t proposing any changes to the deal,” Labour MP Keir Starmer told SkyNews. 

“In particular, it’s not countenancing any changes to the actual wording of the political declaration, obviously, that’s disappointing. Compromise requires change.”

Starmer added that the party want the talks to continue but that it needs to see a change to the deal if it’s going to compromise. 

We urge the prime minister to come forward with genuine changes to her deal in an effort to find an alternative that can win support in parliament and bring the country together.

However, a Downing Street spokesperson has claimed that the government has “made serious proposals”. 

“We have made serious proposals in talks this week and are prepared to pursue changes to the political declaration in order to deliver a deal that is acceptable to both sides.

“We are ready to hold further detailed discussions this weekend in order to seek any such changes in the run up to European Council on Wednesday. The government is determined to work constructively to deliver the Brexit people voted for, and avoid participation in the European Parliamentary elections.”

Labour is pushing May to accept a much closer post-Brexit alliance with the bloc that includes its participation in a customs union.

May had previously dismissed the idea because it bars Britain from striking its own trade deals with global giants such as China and the United States.

Brextension 

Earlier today, Theresa May asked that Brexit be delayed until 30 June amid ongoing negotiations aimed at getting British MPs to agree a way forward.

DUP leader Arlene Foster slammed May’s plea to Brussels for an extension to Article 50 calling it “unsurprising but unsatisfactory”.

In a letter to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, the British Prime Minister stated that should MPs agree a deal before 30 June, the proposed extension would be “terminated early” but said that the UK will continue to prepare to take part in the European Parliament elections in May as a precaution.

“It should not have been like this,” Arlene Foster said in a statement, adding that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU has become “chaotic because of intransigence in Brussels and ineffectiveness in London”.

The United Kingdom fighting European elections almost three years after a clear majority voted to leave the EU sums up the disorganised and slapdash approach taken to negotiations by the Prime Minister.

Foster was also critical of May’s talks with the Labour party, saying she “should not waste any extension by subcontracting the UK’s future to Jeremy Corbyn”.

“This time should be used to get a better deal which works for every part of the United Kingdom so the entire nation can leave the European Union together,” Foster said. 

‘Flexible’ extension 

It’s understood Tusk will suggest to member states that they offer Britain a flexible 12-month Brexit delay to allow it time to prepare an orderly withdrawal.

“This is Tusk’s idea,” a senior EU official told AFP, confirming news reports. “It will be presented to member states today.”

The European Council last month agreed to delay Brexit until 22 May if MPs backed May’s deal. As the deal was again rejected in the House of Commons, a new deadline of next week was set.

Early today, France’s European Affairs Minister said the country opposes giving Britain an additional extension to its exit from the EU unless it produces a “clear” plan with “credible political backing”.

In a statement sent to AFP, Amelie de Montchalin said President Emmanuel Macron’s government had “read with interest” British Prime Minister Theresa May’s letter to the EU asking for an extension until June 30.

“As the Prime Minister rightly wrote, the current impasse is not in the best interest of neither the UK nor the EU. It cannot be allowed to continue,” Montchalin said.

But EU leaders had taken a “clear decision” at their last summit on March 21, she said.

“Another extension requires that the UK puts forward a plan with a clear and credible political backing,” she said.

As things stand, Britain is due to leave the EU on Friday, 12 April. An extraordinary EU summit is set to be held on Wednesday, 10 April.

Contains reporting from © AFP 2019  

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