May offers Corbyn further Brexit talks in attempt to secure deal


Labour MPs have told Theresa May that a fresh bill on workers' rights, not just an amendment, would be the minimum they could accept in order to secure their backing for her Brexit deal.

May's political opponents accuse the government of deliberately running down the clock until lawmakers face a last-minute choice between her deal and no deal. "The question is has she got the message?" "We can't go down the path of no-deal, we can't allow the continuing drift towards the cliff because if the country falls into the abyss the consequences will be catastrophic".

Mrs May is due to update the Commons later on the latest developments in negotiations with Brussels and Dublin, as the sides try to find a way through the impasse on measures for the Irish border.

In a letter to Tory Party chair Brandon Lewis, the activists said any attempt to work with Labour to secure a deal or renege on manifesto commitments would be "catastrophic" for the party and lead to "severe electoral defeats" in the forthcoming May local elections.

He said leaving, without either a transition agreement or greater certainty over a future long-term trade deal with the European Union, would mean "no closure" for the country, leaving the political arguments to rage on long after Britain has formally left the bloc, with which it is deeply integrated.

"Today's data bring clear signs that Brexit uncertainty is depressing the economy, but we would not rush to conclude yet that GDP is on track to fall outright in the first quarter", said Samuel Tombs, chief United Kingdom economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

British businesses are also stockpiling goods as March 29 draws nearer, when the United Kingdom will by default crash out of the block if a withdrawal agreement can not be reached.

It would also prevent Britain negotiating bilateral trade deals with non-EU countries.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded that May had delivered "more excuses and more delays".

Mr Corbyn accused Mrs May of refusing to listen to his alternative deal, involving permanent customs union membership, a close alignment with the single market and matching EU workplace and environmental protections.

Leadsom, responsible for bringing government business through parliament, said the talks were "pretty crucial but delicate negotiations with the European Union to try to make sure that we can sort out the problem with an unlimited backstop".

"This time that remains is extremely short", Barnier told the joint news conference with Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.

Fox had previously said Britain would be able to roll over all of the EU's current trade deals, but so far he has only concluded agreements with Chile, the Faroe Islands and Switzerland.

Mr Ahern said: "I don't think it would be Barnier and company publicly having a press conference in Brussels saying, "We're leaving or letting down the Irish and we're sorry we've changed our mind". Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel stressed that the responsibility for finding a Brexit solution sat with London, Reuters reported. "We never pushed for Brexit, we never demanded Brexit", Bettel said. "The responsibility started in London and is still in London".

The EU has signalled that it could tweak the political declaration on the future relationship.

"We are determined to organise an orderly withdrawal".