Cross-party Brexit negotiations remain delicate says Lidington

Cross-party Brexit negotiations remain delicate says Lidington

Talks between Labour and the government are unlikely to advance much further over the coming week unless Theresa May moves on her red lines over a future customs union, sources close to the talks have suggested.

Parliament could be forced to decide which Brexit option to go for if talks with the Labour party fall through, Theresa May's deputy has said.

Labour has suggested the ball is in the government's court and, while the opposition will engage on other topics including workers' rights and security, the key question on customs arrangements remains unresolved.

"What we have found in terms of objectives... there is fair bit that both parties would have in common", he said.

Mr Lidington suggested the two sides were considering whether there was a "mechanism" to deliver the benefits of a customs union, such as tariff and quota-free trade with the EU, while also enabling the United Kingdom to have an independent trade policy and input into EU agreements affecting the UK.

He the Labour party has a different approach, and there will need to be movement from both sides on customs union policy if an agreement is to be reached.

However, the European Union has insisted the terms of the UK's withdrawal, rejected three times by MPs, can not be renegotiated - but there is scope to strengthen the political declaration, a document setting out the parameters of the UK's future relations with the European Union, ahead of the new Brexit deadline of 31 October.

Sources suggested a the chancellor, Philip Hammond, could meet the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell.

If the cross-party talks do not end in an agreement, then Mr Lidington said the Government would "put before Parliament a set of options" which it would "actually having to come to a preferred option" on "rather than voting against everything". 'Now, as I look at the conduct of the Prime Minister, I will find it very hard to do that again'.

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"I'm sorry she's supporting the new Brexit Party and not the Tories but family always comes above politics and I think always should".

Two former chairmen of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, Lord Spicer and Lord Hamilton, said party rules could be changed to allow a leadership challenge sooner than December.

The pair told the Sunday Telegraph: "Rules are there to serve their organisation".

Tory grandees have raised the possibility of a change in the rules governing challenges to the party leader.

"This party is not here just to fight the European elections".

But MP Nadine Dorries, a supporter of Mr Johnson, said that "There has been a stop Boris campaign since the days of Michael Howard pushing forward Cameron and Osborne". "Boris is a big victor".

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.

The letter, seen by the Daily Mail, accuses the Prime Minister of breaking "solemn pledges" to honour the referendum result and "leave the European Union on time on March 29".

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