Brexit deal talks continue after ‘inconclusive’ meeting between May and Corbyn

Talks on a possible compromise Brexit deal are to continue on Thursday after a meeting between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, which the Labour leader described as “useful but inconclusive”.

The meeting sparked fury among some Conservatives, with two ministers quitting Mrs May’s Government and a string of backbenchers voicing their anger during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.

The talks followed Mrs May’s dramatic announcement that she was willing to reach out across the floor of the Commons to find a deal which would allow her to obtain a short delay to Brexit at an emergency EU summit on April 12.

Mr Corbyn said his meeting with Theresa May was “useful but inconclusive” and said “there has not been as much change as I expected”.

Following the meeting in the PM’s Commons office, a Labour spokesman said: “We have had constructive exploratory discussions about how to break the Brexit deadlock.

Labour's negotiation team of Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey
Labour’s negotiation team of Jeremy Corbyn, Sir Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey prepare for the meeting with Theresa May (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

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

And Downing Street 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.”

It is understood that a planning meeting was taking place in Parliament later on Wednesday ahead of intensive technical discussions by negotiating teams on Thursday.

Mrs May has said she hopes to find a solution which both leaders can support, or failing that, a system of indicative votes which both will recognise as binding.

In a boost to the Prime Minister, MPs failed in a bid to take over the Commons timetable on Monday for a third round of “indicative votes” on Brexit alternatives.

Speaker John Bercow wielded his casting vote to block the debate after MPs tied 310-310 in scenes not seen in the Commons since the Maastricht battles in 1993.

The result clears Monday for a potential attempt by Mrs May to get a consensus Brexit deal through Parliament.

MPs voted by a majority of one to allow a cross-party bid to pass legislation to block a no-deal Brexit in a single day.

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