Lidington says Brexit talks with Labour to continue, will not last months

Lester Mason
April 15, 2019

Prime Minister Theresa May's defacto deputy, David Lidington said the cross-parti talks are "certainly going to continue" this week.

Speaking on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show, David Lidington, said a programme of meetings has been agreed for next week between ministers and shadow ministers to discuss issues such as environmental standards, workers rights and the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU.

The statement said he would discuss Toyota's recently announced plans to build a new auto with Suzuki in Britain and "reassure them that UK Government is focussed on avoiding a no-deal Brexit and on agreeing a deal which that will ensure tariff-free frictionless trade between the European Union and the UK".

"If we're going to reach an agreement on this there's going to need to be movement from both sides", he said.

A customs union is thought to be the area where the Tories may find compromise with Labour.

Central among the issues for the talks is whether the government is prepared to give ground to Labour on a future customs union with the European Union - something ministers oppose, but which is a key plank of Labour's Brexit proposal.

When asked if the government would drop its opposition to the customs union, which Labour supports, Lidington said he thought it was possible to find a "mechanism" where Britain could keep the benefits of the customs union while having the ability to pursue an independent trade policy.

The row was revealed after Richard Corbett, Labour's leader in the European parliament, said Mr Corbyn must back a second referendum - or "confirmatory vote" - in its Euro elections manifesto.

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of failing to commit to the Brexit alternative of supporting a second referendum.

He continued that if this happened, then the Government would "stand ready to implement what Parliament decides".

Despite being handed an extension of EU membership until October 31, May is hoping to pass a withdrawal agreement and lead Britain out of the bloc before May 23 to avoid taking part in elections for the European Parliament.

Mrs May has also faced criticism for agreeing to negotiate a Brexit deal with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Removing May and replacing her with a new leader would "not change the arithmetic" in parliament, he explained.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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