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'Talks gone as far as they can,' Jeremy Corbyn writes to Theresa May as Labour party pulls plug on Brexit compromise talks

File photo of UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn. (AFP) Photograph:( Others )

Reuters London, UK May 17, 2019, 03.40 PM (IST)

Britain's tumultuous divorce from the European Union was again in disarray on Friday as the opposition Labour Party declared last-ditch cross-party talks were dead in the twilight of Prime Minister Theresa May's premiership.

Nearly three years after the United Kingdom voted 52% to 48% in a referendum to leave the EU, it is still unclear how, when or if it will ever leave the European club it joined in 1973. The current deadline to leave is October 31.

Brexit talks between May's Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party have ended without an agreement hours after May agreed on Thursday to set out a timetable for her departure in early June.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote to May on Friday, informing her that talks had "gone as far as they can" due to "the increasing weakness and instability" of the government.

Corbyn said May's government had become unstable and its authority had been eroded undermining confidence in the “government's ability to deliver any compromise agreement”.

He said the party would oppose May's thrice-rejected deal when it returns to parliament.

May's hands have been tied, knowing that to make concessions to Labour would lead to fury in her divided party. Labour has feared that any compromises on issues such as workers' rights would be torn up by May's successor.

Britain’s labyrinthine crisis over Brexit has stunned allies and foes alike, and with the deadlock in London, the world's fifth largest economy faces an array of options including an exit with a deal, a no-deal exit, an election or a second referendum.

The Brexit impasse is unlikely to be broken swiftly.

May will put her 'European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill' to a vote in parliament in early June even though rebels in her party have pledged to defeat it. Then she must agree a timetable for the election of a successor.

May and Labour may try to agree on a process for parliamentary votes designed to find a consensus, the BBC reported. Those votes could happen as early as next week.

Story highlights

Nearly three years after the United Kingdom voted 52% to 48% in a referendum to leave the EU, it is still unclear how, when or if it will ever leave the European club it joined in 1973.