Brexit

Jerermy Corbyn pulls plug on Brexit talks with Theresa May

Theresa May is seeking Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's support for the Withdrawal Agreement. Picture by PA Wire
Harriet Line and David Hughes, Press Association

Cross-party Brexit talks have collapsed after Jeremy Corbyn told Theresa May they had "gone as far as they can".

The Labour leader pulled the plug on the negotiations, telling the British prime minister "we have been unable to bridge important policy gaps between us".

Mr Corbyn also said the prospect of a change in Tory leadership meant the government was becoming "ever more unstable and its authority eroded" and Labour could not be confident in any cross-party agreement being delivered.

Mrs May will set out the timetable for her departure in early June after a crucial Commons vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

Read More: Sajid Javid tells Tories and DUP to back Theresa May's deal or risk no Brexit

In a letter to Mrs May, Mr Corbyn said: "I believe the talks between us about finding a compromise agreement on leaving the European Union have now gone as far as they can."

He added: "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."

The parties' negotiating teams had been holding talks over the last six weeks but the lack of a breakthrough caused frustration on the Labour side.

Mr Corbyn, speaking in north London, said the government had not moved its position "fundamentally" and said the divisions in the Tory Party meant it is a "government that is negotiating with no authority and no ability, that I can see, to actually deliver anything".

Referring to the prospect of indicative votes, the Labour leader said: "This is a novel process which we will obviously look at whenever it comes to parliament."

In response to the decision to call off the cross-party talks, former International Development Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: "Many of us did question the judgment of the Cabinet when they approved those talks..."

The post quote-tweeted a post from Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes who described the talks as "a complete waste of time from the outset".

Labour's Hilary Benn, chairman of the Brexit Select Committee, earlier said there was little point in continuing the cross-party talks if they were going nowhere.

"It doesn't come as a great surprise to me because over the six weeks they've been going it doesn't appear that much progress has been made," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"If there's not going to be any progress then there wouldn't be much point in carrying on."

Meanwhile Tory former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan warned that aligning with the Brexit Party would be the "death knell" for the Conservatives.

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