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Has a Brexit breakthrough been reached at last?

5 April 2019

6:36 AM

5 April 2019

6:36 AM

There has been considerable and widespread cynicism about the talks between the Government and Labour about a compromise that could break the Brexit deadlock.

But those close to the negotiations, led today by David Lidington and Kier Starmer, believe there is at last a “plan with a chance,” of securing a positive vote from MPs for the PM’s Withdrawal Agreement, without which there can be no managed exit from the EU.

It would involve a Government committing to staying in the Customs Union, “dynamic” alignment with EU rules covering workers’ rights and the environment and giving the Commons a vote on whether the whole package would be subject to confirmation in a referendum.

“Is all this real?” I asked informed sources.

“Yes,” they said.

Will it at this last moment provide a stable platform not only for a one-off vote on the principle of this Brexit model but also the complex, controversial, attendant and necessary legislation? Well maybe – if Theresa May can ignore the weeks ahead of outrage from her own Brexiter MPs, who may quit her Government and even her party in disgust.

Oh and Labour and Jeremy Corbyn could face a similar risk of binary fission, if the offer of a confirmatory referendum looks conditional and therefore to all intents and purposes fictional.

Robert Peston is ITV’s Political Editor. This article originally appeared on his ITV news blog


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