Theresa May Leaves For Prime Minister's Questions Britain is further away than ever from achieving a neat exit from the EU after Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn fail to reach an agreement.
Brexit talks between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn have collapsed after their two parties failed to agree on a compromise deal.
The Sunreports that Labour’s Mr Corbyn pulled the plug on six weeks of negotiations, warning that the Tory race to replace Mrs May meant any compromise was doomed to fail.
But the Prime Minister blamed Labour’s shambolic Brexit policy for the breakdown, saying the party can’t decide whether it wants to leave the EU.
Mr Corbyn claimed talks “have now gone as far as they can” after Mrs May refused to sign up to his soft Brexit option which would keep Britain in the customs union.
She could now hold Commons votes on a number of different options to see if there is any Brexit outcome MPs can actually support.
In a letter to Mrs May, Mr Corbyn said: “It has become clear that, while there are some areas where compromise has been possible, we have been unable to bridge important policy gaps between us.
“Even more crucially, the increasing weakness and instability of your government means there cannot be confidence in securing whatever might be agreed between us.
“As I said when we met on Tuesday evening, there has been growing concern in both the shadow cabinet and parliamentary Labour Party about the government’s ability to deliver on any compromise agreement.
“As you have been setting out your decision to stand down and Cabinet ministers are competing to succeed you, the position of the Government has become ever more unstable and its authority eroded.
“Not infrequently, proposals by your negotiating team have been publicly contradicted by statements from other members of the Cabinet.”
He also pointed to UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox’s desire for a UK-US trade deal, including the import of American foods such as chlorinated chicken, as a key factor in leading to the end of negotiations.
Mr Corbyn concluded: “Without significant changes, we will continue to oppose the Government’s deal as we do not believe it safeguards jobs, living standards and manufacturing industry in Britain.”
Speaking on the campaign trail in Bristol, Mrs May responded: “We haven’t been able to overcome the fact that there isn’t a common position in Labour about whether they want to deliver Brexit or hold a second referendum which could reverse it.”
And the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We have made real progress on some issues such as workers’ rights and environmental protections, but it is clear that we are not going to be able to reach a complete agreement.
“In particular there have been very challenging discussions in respect of the different positions of the two sides on customs and the holding of a second referendum.
“The Prime Minister continues to believe it is the duty of elected politicians to deliver on the result of the referendum.”
Government sources blamed Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary who led Labour’s side of the talks, for refusing to compromise on his demand for a second referendum.
Hardliners from both the Tories and Labour welcomed the end of the talks and called on their party leaders to resist any further compromise.
Brexiteer backbencher Simon Clarke said: “Thank God. They ought never to have happened.”
Ex-minister Priti Patel added: “Many of us did question the judgement of the Cabinet when they approved those talks...”
And Lord Adonis, a pro-EU Labour peer, said: “Talks between Labour and Mrs May over. They were never going anywhere. The only compromise possible is to put May’s deal to a referendum with an option to remain.”
Mr Corbyn denied claims he never intended to get a deal from the talks in the first place - insisting: “It was not shadow-boxing.”
The two sides were hoping to agree on a soft Brexit lasting until the next general election.
That would allow the voters to choose between Labour’s preferred option of a permanent customs union, and the looser arrangement backed by the Tories.
Conservative Brexiteers were furious at the prospect of Mrs May watering down her Brexit deal any further.
And Labour rebels said they wouldn’t back any compromise agreement without a second referendum attached.
The collapse of talks suggests the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is doomed when it reaches the parliament in June in what will effectively be a fourth “meaningful vote” on Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement.
This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission