Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Brexit: Theresa May responds to Jeremy Corbyn's letter

Brexit: Theresa May responds to Jeremy Corbyn's letter

Downing Street meanwhile said Mrs May will make a Commons statement on the latest developments in the Brexit negotiations on Tuesday - a day earlier than expected.

May will promise lawmakers a second opportunity to influence the Brexit talks later in the month in a bid to stave off any rebellion from within her own party by those who fear Britain could end up leaving without a deal.

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said his "key question" about Mrs May's response was: "Is she prepared to move her red lines and find a consensus?"

His remarks to reporters came after talks with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Boris Johnson (pictured inset top) offered Theresa May a sliver of hope by saying he could said he could vote for her deal - if she can get a time limit on the backstop.

Japan has sought to extract hefty concessions from Britain before Brexit, while talks with many nations have been delayed by the lack of clarity over Britain's future trading relationship with the EU.

"I think that you would need to have a time limit". During his speech, Mr Johnson said: "I don't think there is any mileage for Theresa May or the Government in trying to a do a deal with Labour".

The EU has urged May to grasp Labour's compromise offer rather than press ahead with her preferred option of getting her own divided party onside by renegotiating a clause in the exit agreement relating to the Northern Irish border.

In his letter to Mrs May, the Labour leader set out five demands, including a permanent customs union and close alignment with the single market.


"The government will commit that if the meaningful vote, in other words the deal coming back, has not happened by the 27th of February, then we would allow a further motion - votable in Parliament - to take place, to give that sense of assurance as to the process moving forward", he told the BBC's "Andrew Marr Show".

She did not reject any of his conditions outright in her reply.

His comments were echoed by former Conservative chairman Grant Shapps who tweeted: "No point winning Labour MPs, by losing Tories!"

Writing her response to his letter of last Wednesday, Mrs May told the Labour leader: "It is good to see that we agree that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union with a deal and that the urgent task at hand is to find a deal that honours our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland, can command support in Parliament and can be negotiated with the EU - not to seek an election or second referendum".

The PM said she wanted the Tory and Labour teams to consider "alternative arrangements" to the Irish backstop.

"I am not clear why you believe it would be preferable to seek a say in future European Union trade deals rather than the ability to strike our own deal?"

Some of her cabinet members also quashed the idea, with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox calling Mr Corbyn's proposal a "dangerous delusion".

Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss refused to rule out resigning if Mrs May backed a customs union.

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