Politics update: Downing Street admits talks with EU are deadlocked, one day before meaningful vote

Politics update 11.03.2019 Brexit Talks Stallled

Downing street admits deadlock in negotiations with EU

Theresa May

Downing Street has admitted that talks between UK and EU officials have become deadlocked, according to reports by the BBC.

The news comes just a day before Theresa May’s Brexit Deal returns to parliament for another ‘meaningful vote’. Talks will reportedly re-start on Monday morning with the UK again attempting to secure last minute changes to the Irish border backstop.

The BBC’s political correspondent Chris Mason said on Monday that the deal had not been substantially changed and “the prospect of another big loss looms.”

May’s deal will be voted on by MPs in parliament on 12 March.

McDonnell: Labour must focus on defeating May’s deal

John McDonnell

John McDonnell has said the Labour party must focus on defeating Theresa May’s Brexit deal, rather than pushing for a second referendum.

The shadow chancellor said that rather than pushing for a second referendum this week, the party’s aim should be to defeat May’s deal and seek more time to secure a better agreement by delaying Brexit.

McDonnell had previously said that Labour would either put forward an amendment calling for a second referendum or support a backbench one, as soon as the prime minister brought her deal back to parliament for a vote on 12 March.

The shadow chancellor said that whilst it was still the party’s policy to support a second referendum, they would only do so if parliament failed to “break the logjam” and secure a better deal than the prime minister’s.

Speaking on Sunday, McDonnell said: “My view is everything we do this week has got to prevent a no deal and a bad deal. Other discussions will take place but we’ll always, exactly as our party conference said, we’ll always keep on the agenda if necessary. If parliament can’t agree we’ll have to go back to the people. We’ll be forced to.”

Brexit secretary held talks with pro-second referendum Labour MPs

Stephen Barclay
Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay

Government sources have confirmed that the Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay has held talks with advocates of a second referendum, listening to proposals if a “new direction” is needed after Theresa May’s deal is defeated in parliament.

Labour MP Peter Kyle confirmed that Barclay was “engaging fully” with possibilities such as a second referendum, but added that he had remained “loyal” to the government’s official policy, which is currently to oppose a second referendum ‘at all costs’.

Meanwhile the Independent reports that a 45-minute meeting did go ahead between Barclay and second referendum advocates in Downing Street, but the government source also added that the Brexit secretary regularly meets with MPs from other parties.

Jeremy Hunt: Britain could ‘end up losing Brexit’

Jeremy Hunt Foreign Secretary
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

The foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that Britain could ‘end up losing Brexit’, as pressure for other options such as a lengthy delay and a fresh referendum grows.

Speaking at the weekend, Hunt also seemed to suggest that a delay to Brexit would be necessary, whether or not the prime minister’s deal passes through parliament on Tuesday.

Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday, Hunt said: “We have an opportunity now to leave on 29 March or shortly thereafter and it is very important we grasp that opportunity because there is wind in the sails of people trying to stop Brexit.

“If you want to stop Brexit you only need to do three things – kill this deal, get an extension and then have a second referendum. Within three weeks people could have two of those three things and quite possibly the third one could be on the way through the Labour Party. We’re in very perilous waters.”

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