UK Opposition expects more Brexit talks as deadline looms

Last Updated: Mon, Apr 08, 2019 11:57 hrs
An anti-Brexit protestor flies flags near the Houses of Parliament in London

London: With just five days to go until the UK is due to leave the European Union (EU) on Friday, the opposition Labour Party has said that it expects to hold further talks with Prime Minister Theresa May's government to find a Brexit deal.

Last week, May said that only a cross-party pact will get the support of a majority of MPs, as Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and some Conservatives have rejected her deal with the EU, reports the BBC.

On Sunday, Rebecca Long-Bailey, a member of Labour's negotiating team, described the mood as "positive and hopeful", and indicated more talks were likely to take place early this week.

This was despite the fact government proposals "have not been compliant with the definition of a customs union", the Labour's key demand, she told the BBC.

That would allow tariff-free trade in goods with the EU but limit the UK from striking its own deals. Leaving the arrangement was a Conservative manifesto commitment.

Long-Bailey also suggested that Labour could be prepared to cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50 - the legal mechanism through which Brexit is taking place - if the UK was heading towards a no-deal scenario on Friday.

"We have promised our party members and our constituents that we will do all we can to avoid a no-deal situation," she told the BBC.

Long-Bailey's remarks came after May tweeted a video message earlier on Sunday, explaining her decision to negotiate with Labour.

"We absolutely must leave the European Union... that means we need to get a deal over the line and that's why we've been looking for new ways - a new approach - to find an agreement in Parliament.

"People didn't vote on party lines when it came to the Brexit referendum. And I think members of the public want to see their politicians working together more often."

While communication between the two sides is continuing, little detail has emerged about what is being discussed.

May is due at an emergency summit in Brussels on Wednesday, when EU leaders will expect to hear fresh plans.

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU without a deal on Friday at 11 p.m.

However, on Monday, peers will continue considering a bill brought by senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper, which aims to force May to request a Brexit extension rather than leave the EU without a deal.