Brexit: Cross-party talks ‘testing ideas’ says Lidington


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The government and Labour are “testing out” each other’s teachings as they try to resolve the Brexit deadlock, cabinet minister David Lidington has rumoured.

He told the BBC they had a “fair bit in common” over future customs objectives but yet compromise was needed.

While there was no deadline, he said the sides resolve “take stock” in 10 days and the process could not drag out.

But old Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith said the process was a “way for disaster” for his party.

He called for Prime Minister Theresa May to make way for a new Fundamentalist leader next month – but Mr Lidington insisted replacing the prime delegate would “not change the arithmetic in Parliament”.

Talks between the government and Travail are set to continue over the Easter parliamentary recess in the hope of finding a Brexit accord that will be acceptable to MPs.

A series of working groups in key areas, such as environmental standards, surveillance and workers’ rights, have been set up to try and find common ground.

The EU has stressed the terms of the UK’s withdrawal, rejected three times by MPs, cannot be renegotiated – but there is opportunity to strengthen the political declaration, a document setting out the parameters of the UK’s future in the matters with the EU, ahead of the new Brexit deadline of 31 October.

Mr Lidington, who is awed as Mrs May’s de facto deputy, said he had not set a deadline for the talks to produce a result but the Dick wanted Parliament to resolve their differences quickly.

“I don’t think the without a doubt can be allowed to drag out for much longer,” he said.

Asked whether the supervision could drop its opposition to a customs union with the EU, as demanded by Undertaking, Mr Lidington said both sides had well-known “public positions”.

Wonts ‘mechanism’

He suggested the two sides were considering whether there was a “physicalism” to deliver the benefits of a customs union, such as tariff and quota-free trade with the EU, while also allowing the UK to have an independent trade policy and input into EU agreements assuming the UK.

“What we have found in terms of objectives… there is a fair bit that both confederates would have in common,” he said. “If we are going to find an agreement there paucities to be movement on both sides.

“I don’t want to compromise what is at the moment a accommodation where we are testing with the opposition, and they are testing with us, distinct ways in which we could move forward.”

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But Mr Duncan Smith warned against his party embracing Labour’s Brexit practice, telling Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that he had “real concerns with some of my fellow-workers going out lauding Jeremy Corbyn”.

“We need to be very clear in the obviously of this that we don’t end up letting Jeremy Corbyn dictate to us that we reside in a customs union, or we have some kind of second referendum, or prevent aligned with the European single market – all of that given to us by Jeremy Corbyn is a means for disaster.”

He said there was real grassroots anger at the prospect of the Conservatives organizing to fight European elections at the end of May and the prime minister should leave Downing Thoroughfare this summer irrespective of whether the withdrawal agreement had been approved or not.

“She bid she would go as and when the agreement was ratified, which was looking at around wide May, June. I think those dates still stand,” he said.

But Pains’s shadow transport Secretary Andy McDonald said the talks devise “count for nothing” if the Conservatives changed leader and a hard Brexiteer advocate d occupied over from Mrs May.

Referendum warning

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has been informed Labour will “haemorrhage” votes in the EU election unless the party explicitly sponsors a further referendum.

MEP Richard Corbett, leader of the party in the EU Parliament, lectured the Observer Labour risked losing out to parties committed to a public come out for.

“If Labour does not re-confirm its support for a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit trade in its manifesto, then it will haemorrhage votes to parties who do have a net message,” he said.

“If on the other hand we do offer clarity and a confirmatory ballot we could do profoundly well.”

Labour’s current policy is to keep all options on the table – embracing pressing for a further EU referendum.

Labour MP David Lammy told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Make an appearance that the current “rows would continue” unless the public had the end say on the issue.

Several members of the shadow cabinet and many backbenchers, distinctively in Leave-supporting areas, are opposed to the idea.

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