Theresa May to make written Brexit offer to Jeremy Corbyn
PM’s letter will offer MPs vote on second referendum, according to source
Theresa May will write to Jeremy Corbyn to set out the government’s offer on Brexit, reports The Guardian.
Yesterday’s talks between Conservative and Labour teams, which lasted four and a half hours, were described as “detailed and productive” by the government. However, there is no sign of a breakthrough.
Officials have begun drafting a letter for May to send to the Labour leader. A government source says that it would include the proposal that a confirmatory referendum on any Brexit deal be offered to MPs as an option in any vote next week.
Some of the Conservatives’ suggestions during talks were “met with incredulity,” The Times says, as Labour “protested that the prime minister has failed to shift on her red lines”, The Independent reports.
The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg offers a marginally more optimistic assessment, writing that “behind the scenes there isn't as much difference between the two sides' versions of Brexit as the hue and cry of Parliament implies”.
Jeremy Corbyn told Labour MPs that “agenda items” during Thursday’s talks included “customs arrangements, single market alignment including rights and protections, agencies and programmes, internal security, legal underpinning to any agreements and confirmatory vote”.
Talks between the parties will continue today. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox says that if the two parties fail to find a way forward, the next delay is “likely to be a long one”.
The UK is due to leave the EU on 12 April and the Prime Minister has stated that a further extension to the Brexit date is needed if the UK is to avoid leaving the EU without a deal.
Europe's leaders are split over whether to grant any extension and how such a delay would work. According to the BBC, European Council President Donald Tusk “believes he's come up with an answer”.
A senior EU source says Tusk plans to offer the UK a 12-month “flexible” extension to its Brexit date. His proposal, which would need to be agreed by EU leaders at a summit next week, would allow the UK to leave sooner if Parliament ratifies a deal.
“He believes the arrangement would suit the EU and the UK and, as one EU official put it to me, it would avoid Brussels potentially being faced with UK requests for repeated short extensions every few weeks,” said BBC Europe editor Katya Adler.
Brussels has already said that the UK must decide by 12 April whether it will field candidates in next month’s European Parliamentary elections, or else the option of a long extension to Brexit would become impossible.