Brexit: Labour and Conservative talks end after 4.5 hours – BBC News
- The discussions were described as “detailed and productive” by the government.
- Leaving the talks, Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir did not answer questions about what had been discussed, telling reporters: “We have had further discussions and we will be having further discussions with the government.”
- 25 Labour MPs – including former minister Caroline Flint and a number MPs for Leave-voting seats in the North and Midlands – have written to Jeremy Corbyn, saying another referendum should not be included in any compromise Brexit deal.
- Labour wants a new permanent customs union with the EU, while Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party – which props up Mrs May’s government – indicated on Wednesday that it could support the idea.
- The prime minister wants to agree a policy with the Labour leader for MPs to vote on before 10 April – when the EU will hold an emergency summit on Brexit.
- If they cannot reach a consensus, Mrs May has pledged to allow MPs to vote on a number of options, including the withdrawal agreement she has negotiated with the EU, which MPs have already rejected three times.
- In either event, Mrs May said she would ask the EU for a further short extension to Brexit in the hope of getting an agreement passed by Parliament before 22 May, so that the UK does not have to take part in European elections.
Angela Merkel says Germany ‘will stand’ with Ireland – BBC News
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany will stand with Ireland “every step of the way” over Brexit. She was speaking following today’s talks in Dublin with the Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) about the current deadlock.
- Ms Merkel was asked if it was possible to protect the integrity of the single market without an Irish border being place.
- She said: “We will simply have to be able to do this. We hope for a solution we can agree together with Britain.
- “Where there’s a will there’s a way. We still hope for an orderly Brexit.”
- Leo Varadkar restated his commitment to an open border in Ireland with free movement of people and frictionless trade, with no tariffs and no checks.
- He added: “We don’t want Ireland to become a back door to the single market in the event of a hard Brexit.”
House of Lords attacks bill aimed at preventing no-deal Brexit TheFT
- HoL discussed the Bill proposed by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and the Conservative Oliver Letwin, which was passed in the House of Commons by just one vote late last night.Comments made by members of the House include:
- Conservative Michael Forsyth said MPs had shown “extraordinary arrogance” by seeking to prevent a no-deal Brexit, and criticised the speed at which the legislation was being pushed through the Lords. “Why has it all got to be done today?” he asked.
- Former leader of the Social Democratic party, David Owen, said the country would see “an elite in both Houses, an elite in London” blocking the result of the 2016 EU referendum.
- Natalie Evans, Conservative leader in the Lords, said ministers believed the bill could “tie the hands of the government”. If passed, Mrs May would be back and forth from Brussels and Parliament, seeking agreement on the specific extension.
- Peers voted by 254 to 94 to reject Lord Forsyth’s amendment, which would have made it impossible to push the bill through the Lords on Thursday. Other amendments by Eurosceptic peers were due to be voted on.
Brexit: DUP accuses government of U-turn BBC NEWS
- The DUP has accused the government of preparing for a Brexit U-turn after the chancellor suggested another referendum would be a “credible proposition”.
- DUP has in the past stated it does not support the UK joining a customs union with the EU. On Wednesday 3 April 2019, it was hinted that the Chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson hinted the DUP might be open to a customs union. However, this was clarified today as he tweeted a statement:
- “Difficult to move from a position you never held. I merely suggested that the Commons may end up supporting a customs union, perhaps as a staging post, but that does NOT infer that we would support such an option. Indeed I made clear this is NOT our preferred option.”
- Labour has called for a permanent customs union with the EU and is in talks with the government about reaching a compromise.