Cross-party Brexit talks to continue as ministers urge Corbyn to do deal
Cross-party Brexit talks are set to continue this week as ministers urged Jeremy Corbyn to do a deal with the Government to break the deadlock.
Negotiations between Labour and the Conservatives will resume on Tuesday, with reports over the weekend suggesting Theresa May is poised to propose a temporary customs arrangement with the EU.
But shadow chancellor John McDonnell accused the Prime Minister of jeopardising the talks, claiming she had “blown the confidentiality” of the discussions.
He said he no longer trusts Mrs May, following reports in the Sunday Times that she was prepared to give ground in three areas: customs, goods alignment and workers’ rights.
Meanwhile Rory Stewart, the newly appointed International Development Secretary, warned that the Tories could lose four million voters if the party takes a harder line on Brexit and tries to “outdo” Nigel Farage.
He said Labour and the Conservatives’ positions were a “quarter of an inch apart”, telling Sky News’ Sophy Ridge of Sunday: “I think a deal can be done, a lot of this rests on… whether Jeremy Corbyn really wants to deliver a Brexit deal.
“But I think if he wants to do it, it will be actually surprisingly easy to do because our positions are very, very close.”
And Mrs May wrote in the Mail on Sunday: “To the leader of the opposition, I say this: let’s listen to what the voters said in the elections and put our differences aside for a moment. Let’s do a deal.”
Elsewhere, a poll by political blog Conservative Home found that 82% of its party member panel respondents want Mrs May to stand down as party leader and to call a leadership election.
Mr Stewart, who also confirmed that he would run to be the next prime minister when Mrs May stands down, said: “Most Brexit voters voted for the Conservative Party but four million Remain voters voted for the Conservative Party.
“If the Conservative Party were to make the mistake of trying to outdo Nigel Farage, which I’m sure we won’t but it is something that a few of my colleagues are talking about, then we would lose those four million voters.
“We’d lose young people, we’d lose Scotland, we’d lose London and we’d lose a lot of the most energetic parts of this country.
“We’ve got to be a broad party. We’ve got to be able to stretch all the way from Ken Clarke right the way through to Jacob Rees-Mogg.”