JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – British Prime Minister Theresa May has attempted to explain what on earth’s happening with Brexit in a video message to the country. May acknowledged she could not see Parliament accepting her Withdrawal Agreement after rejecting it three times. As a result, she said, the Government were trying to find a “new approach” through cross-party talks.
In the message released on Sunday, the prime minister acknowledged there were lots of things she disagreed with the Labour Party on but said the two parties had found common ground on many Brexit issues, including ending free movement.
Cross-party talks between the Government and Labour are expected to continue this week after May warned Brexit could “slip through our fingers” unless a compromise can be found.
On the message, released on his Twitter account, the prime minister said: “Can we find a way through this that ensures that we can get a good deal and a deal agreed through Parliament. It’ll mean compromise on both sides but I believe that delivering Brexit is the most important thing for us.”
With the clock ticking down toward last-minute talks in Brussels on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU), speaking on Saturday, May said that agreeing a deal between the two parties could lead to the United Kingdom (UK) leaving the EU in six weeks, but a failure could result in no Brexit at all.
But May also faces anger from Conservative Brexiteers over the prospect of the UK’s departure being delayed, with one minister saying that if Britons were required to elect members of parliament (MPs) on May 23 it would be like writing a “suicide note” for the Tory party.
Labour’s key demand is for a customs union with Brussels in order to protect the flow of goods, but Brexiteers vehemently oppose anything that would restrict the UK’s ability to strike free trade deals through being bound by tariffs set by the EU.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is also under pressure from his party to insist on a second referendum on any agreement – although that could trigger a revolt by some of his MPs, including senior frontbenchers.
On Saturday, 80 Labour MPs wrote to Corbyn and members of the shadow cabinet, demanding that he secure a guarantee of a second referendum in any Brexit deal he reaches with the Prime Minister.
The letter states that a public vote should be the “bottom line” in the Brexit negotiations with the Government, and warns any concessions secured in the cross-party talks – which have so far failed to produce a breakthrough – cannot be guaranteed, meaning a referendum is a necessary safeguard.
But Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said the Prime Minister’s deal with Brussels already had a “customs arrangement” in it aimed at tariff-free trade. She expects that the Prime Minister will only seek to agree with those things that still constitute Brexit.
The Prime Minister heads to Brussels on Wednesday for an emergency summit aimed at securing a further delay to Brexit, with May hoping for an extension until June 30 at the latest, with the option of leaving the EU earlier if a deal can get through Parliament.
If no extension is agreed then the UK is set to leave without a deal on Friday. European Council President Donald Tusk is expected to recommend a longer postponement of one year, with a break clause in the case of earlier ratification, in a so-called “flextension” deal.
May has already obtained one extension to the Article 50 withdrawal process, postponing the date of Brexit from March 29 to April 12.
The Commons Leader said that a second referendum is an appalling idea and taking part in the European elections would be utterly unacceptable.
The Prime Minister said she had done everything to persuade parliaments to back her deal, but acknowledged the Withdrawal Agreement had been rejected by the Commons three times and there is no sign it can be passed in the near future.
“Because Parliament has made clear it will stop the UK leaving without a deal, we now have a stark choice: leave the European Union with a deal or do not leave at all,” she said in a statement.
Defending the cross-party approach, she said: “The fact is that on Brexit there are areas where the two main parties agree: we both want to end free movement, we both want to leave with a good deal, and we both want to protect jobs. That is the basis for a compromise that can win a majority in Parliament and winning that majority is the only way to deliver Brexit.”
Despite May saying she was working with Labour in a bid to come to a “compromise” agreement, Labour has accused the Prime Minister of refusing to consider changes to the Political Declaration, the document setting out a framework for the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
Corbyn said: “The Labour position is a customs union with the EU, access to European markets and the retention of regulations for the environment, consumers, and workplace rights as a base on which we can build – a dynamic relationship which means we can never fall below them. We’ve set all that out. I haven’t noticed any great change in the Government’s position so far. I’m waiting to see the red lines move.”
Meanwhile, Conservative activists, reportedly, are refusing to campaign for the party and donations have dried up because of May’s leadership.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, more than 100 current and would-be Tory councilors state that they are unable to muster the volunteers needed to effectively fight next month’s local elections because belief in the party they joined is gone.
They said May’s approach threatens to damage the Conservatives for years and that teaming up with Corbyn could be potentially disastrous for the nation.
Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org