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THERESA MAY is seeking a compromise with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to get a Brexit deal through Parliament, Justice Minister Rory Stewart confirmed yesterday.
He said that the government can achieve “a great deal of what Mr Corbyn is interested in.”
However, he also said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the government rejects Labour’s demand for a permanent customs union with the EU.
On Sunday Ms May responded to Mr Corbyn’s letter in which he set out Labour’s five demands for backing a Brexit deal with an offer of further talks.
She welcomed his agreement that Britain should leave the EU with a deal and his support for finding “alternative arrangements” to the Irish backstop.
But she stopped short of backing his demand for a customs union with the EU, saying this would prevent Britain from striking free-trade deals with non-EU countries.
Her move to seek his support comes as latest GDP figures showed car manufacturing is currently suffering its lowest output levels since the financial crash.
Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said yesterday that the Labour front bench was committed to discussing the impasse with the government and would respond to Ms May’s offer for talks in due course.
He also criticised Ms May’s “grubby” and “deeply unpleasant” plan to offer money to MPs of “left behind” leave-voting areas, including his constituency, in return for backing her deal.
At an event hosted by think tank the Resolution Foundation, he said that reports of the PM considering allowing a vote in Parliament on consolidating EU workers’ rights into British law ring hollow as they are not backed by an actual proposal or a three-line whip.
Mr Trickett said: “But these two suggestions: workers’ rights and some kind of investment in those areas, which I argue have been held back deliberately rather than being ‘left behind’ accidentally, go to the heart of much bigger issues.
“Because I think it raises the question as to what are the causes of Brexit. The government are tough on Brexit on every angle possible, but haven’t addressed what the chronic problems are that exist in the labour market and in under-developing areas.
“The government cannot answer this. The two suggestions [of consolidating workers’ rights and cash for leave-voting areas] are therefore hopeless.
“This is nothing but a vulgar attempt to buy votes in the Commons.”
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