Weeks of cross-party talks between the U.K.’s Conservative and Labour parties aimed at forging a consensus on Brexit are nearing their endgame.
Prime Minister Theresa May has told the opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn that she will bring her thrice-rejected withdrawal bill back before the House of Commons on June 3.
In a meeting with Corbyn on Tuesday, the PM said she wanted to see the bill approved by ministers before the House’s summer recess in late July.
“Talks this evening between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition were both useful and constructive,” according to a statement from May’s office.
However, senior politicians on both sides remain pessimistic about the prospects of an agreement securing a majority in parliament, the Guardian reports.
Shadow cabinet members said there was no chance of a deal and a senior member of the Labour frontbench quoted by The Financial Times, said “the talks are going nowhere.”
It remains unclear whether the Tories and Labour will reach a compromise, with the question of a permanent customs union with the European Union remaining a key point of friction.
On May 14, 13 ex-cabinet ministers, including former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and former Brexit secretary David Davis, issued a strongly-worded letter against any deal that involved a customs union. Johnson, a favorite to replace May as PM, said he would not be bound by any deal with Labour on this issue.
“We believe that a customs union-based deal with Labour will very likely lose the support of Conservative MPs like us who backed the withdrawal agreement in March (in many cases very reluctantly), and you would be unlikely to gain as many Labour MPs to compensate,” the letter read.
Separately, a judge will decide on May 23 — the same day the U.K. heads to the polls to vote in the European Parliament elections — whether to summon Johnson to court, reported the Guardian. He is accused in a private case of misleading the public by claiming that the U.K. sends £350m each week to the European Union during the 2016 EU referendum campaign.
The MPs’ fourth vote on Brexit in early June may coincide with U.S. President Donald Trump’s state visit to the U.K.
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