Theresa May offers ministers 'meaningful vote' if no Brexit deal

Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a meeting at Farmleigh House in Dublin

Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a meeting at Farmleigh House in Dublin

The Prime Minister will ask Parliament not to try and force an extension to Article 50 when the Commons is presented with another "neutral motion" on Brexit later this week, rather than a substantive vote to approve the Brexit deal.

Labour's Brexit policy chief Keir Starmer told the Sunday Times newspaper that his party would seek to use the debate in parliament this week to prevent May from waiting until the last minute to come back with a deal, and compel her to present a fresh accord for lawmakers to consider before February 26.

Mr Corbyn's demand is for a customs union that gives the United Kingdom a say on future trade deals the EU might strike - something Brussels appears unlikely to accept.

"The idea that you can have a customs union with the EU and at the same time, as an outside country, have an effect on EU trade policy is to not understand the EU treaties", Dr Fox said.

European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday British Prime Minister Theresa May should endorse a permanent customs union with the bloc - as proposed by the opposition Labour party - to break the impasse over their looming divorce. The backstop is the main obstacle to securing agreement on the terms of Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

Their teams would continue to work in the meantime "on finding a way forward", it added.

During a speech at the Henry Jackson Society, the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson rejected the idea that Prime Minister Theresa May should consider Jeremy Corbyn's "toxic" Brexit proposal.

There appears little prospect of an imminent breakthrough with Brussels, and Mrs May might not bring her deal back for a decisive vote this month.

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Last week, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn set out the conditions under which he would instruct his party to support an exit deal in parliament. He has also faced pressure from some of his MPs to push for another public vote on Brexit.

The existing Political Declaration - the part of the Brexit deal setting out the goals for the future UK-EU relationship - "explicitly provides for the benefits of a customs union - no tariffs, fees, charges or quantitative restrictions across all sectors and no checks on rules of origin", said the PM.

"The letter was an agreed letter that was sent out", Sir Keir said.

"If you are going to stay in the customs union and the single market and you are going to have people around the table in Brussels, there's a name for that".

Those countries aren't EU members, but belong to the much-smaller European Economic Area-European Free Trade Agreement (EEA EFTA) group.

She said the government needed to "get serious" about policy on a customs union and guarantee to "legislate for the protections around workers' rights".

Labour MP Lisa Nandy told the BBC's Politics Live that there were between 40 and 60 of her colleagues "who are actively looking for ways to support" a revised Brexit deal.

Mr Baker said the talks had been "constructive".

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