Theresa May set for 'intensive' day of talks with Labour

Written by Kevin Schofield and Tom Freeman on 4 April 2019 in News

Party leaders set for whole day of talks after both sides reportedly showed "flexibility" in initial discussions

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn - PA

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are set for a whole day of "intensive" talks aimed at thrashing out a Brexit deal to present to MPs.

After the pair met for two hours on Wednesday, senior front bench figures will join them today along with Olly Robbins, May's top Brexit adviser.

A spokesman for Number 10 said both sides were "showing flexibility", while the Labour leader described yesterday's meeting as "useful, but inconclusive" .

The Tory negotiators will be David Lidington, Steve Barclay, Julian Smith and Gavin Barwell, while for Labour it will be Keir Starmer, Nick Brown and Rebecca Long-Bailey.

It is understood that a potential deal could be reached on a permanent customs union with the EU - a key Labour demand and something Theresa May has previously insisted she would not agree to.

Mr Corbyn is also coming under huge pressure to push for another EU referendum to be held on any deal backed by the Commons.

However, a Labour spokesman insisted the party only wanted to hold another public vote "to prevent a damaging Tory Brexit or a no-deal outcome".

Both Labour and the Government could also agree that any Brexit deal must ensure the end of freedom of movement.

Following Wednesday's initial talks, a Downing Street spokesman said: "Today’s talks were constructive, with both sides showing flexibility and a commitment to bring the current Brexit uncertainty to a close.  We have agreed a programme of work to ensure we deliver for the British people, protecting jobs and security.”

Speaking after meeting with Theresa May in Parliament this afternoon, Jeremy Corbyn said: “There hasn’t been as much change as I expected but we will have further discussions tomorrow to explore technical issues.

“I put forward the view from the Labour Party that we want to achieve a customs union with the EU, access to the Single Market and dynamic regulatory alignment, that is a guarantee of European regulations as a minimum on the environment, consumer and workers’ rights.

"I also raised the option of a public vote to prevent crashing out or leaving on a bad deal.”

A Labour spokesperson said: "We have had constructive exploratory discussions about how to break the Brexit deadlock.

"We have agreed a programme of work between our teams to explore the scope for agreement."

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