Cross-party Brexit negotiations between ruling Conservative and opposition Labour parties collapsed Friday following Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to pull out of the talks.
“I am writing to let you know that I believe the talks between us about finding a compromise agreement on leaving the European Union have gone as far as they can. I would like to put on record that the talks have been conducted in good faith on both sides” Corbyn wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May.
“However it has become clear that, while there are some areas where compromise has been possible, we have been unable to to bridge important policy gaps between us” he said. “Even more crucially, the increasing weakness and instability of your government means there cannot be confidence in securing whatever might be agreed between us”.
Corbyn revealed heightened concerns within his shadow Cabinet and the Labour Party about May’s ability to deliver any compromise between the two as many Tory MPs have said they would vote it down any agreement reached with Labour.
He also called out May’s weak and increasingly embattled leadership, saying the authority of government has become unstable and eroded and criticized the Tories negotiating team and how their proposals were publicly contradicted by colleagues in May’s Cabinet.
Importantly, however, was the issue surrounding a customs union. Corbyn had been adamant that any deal must include a customs union. However, Cabinet ministers repeated rejections of such a proposal only served to drive a wedge between negotiators, making the likelihood of an agreement unlikely.
Furthermore, despite assurances given to Labour regarding the protection of environmental and animal rights, food standards and workers’ rights, the international trade secretary’s confirmation that the U.K. would import chlorinated chicken under a U.S. trade deal further deepened mistrust between the U.K.’s largest parties.
Corbyn said without significant changes, Labour would continue to oppose the government’s deal as they have done so three times in the past.
After meeting colleagues in her party Thursday, May agreed to step down after the deal is brought to parliament for a fourth time next month. However, it is expected to be voted down by MPs, again.
By Muhammad Mussa in London