Prime Minister Theresa May’s move to share control of Brexit decision-making with Labour could result in a public ‘confirmatory’ vote on the Withdrawal Agreement, otherwise known as a second referendum.
Talks between Mrs May and Jeremy Corbyn are expected to resume today, with the prime minister set to write to the Labour leader with the Government’s offer on the way forward with Brexit.
According to sources speaking to The Guardian, this letter could include the option of a confirmatory public referendum on any Brexit deal, which could be presented to, and voted on, in the House of Commons.
“Agenda items were customs arrangements, single market alignment including rights and protections, agencies and programmes, internal security, legal underpinning to any agreements and confirmatory vote,” Mr Corbyn is said to have written to Labour MPs after meeting with the prime minister at Downing Street this week.
A Cabinet source told the left-wing newspaper that the talks between the Opposition leader and the prime minister will likely not come to a compromise, with the options on the negotiating table possibly to go to a Commons vote as early as next week.
The Telegraph is also reporting that Tory ministers have been taking to their counterparts in the shadow government about giving Members of Parliament a vote on a second referendum, also.
A team of four ministers led by Cabinet Office minister David Lidington met with shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and other Labour MPs on Thursday, according to sources speaking to the centre-right newspaper, with the leading Labour figure reportedly saying the option should be in the table.
On the issue of the ‘confirmatory referendum,’ Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage told Sky News on Friday, “The referendum that is being talked about by Keir Starmer — and indeed endorsed by Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer — would offer us the choice of Remain… against Mrs May’s new treaty, which is not Brexit at all.
“There would not even be a proper leave option on the ballot paper. it would be an absolute disgrace if the talks even continued on that basis.”
Government sources have said that May is opposed to a second referendum and does not intend to hold a vote on the option.
May Condemned for ‘Subcontracting’ Brexit to ‘Known Marxist’ Corbyn https://t.co/VJQa4wQvlZ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 3, 2019
But earlier in the week, Mrs May indicated that a compromise on the Customs Union could be made. In response, up to ten mid-ranking and junior ministers reportedly said they would walk out on the government if May relented and agreed to a custom union, which would stop post-Brexit Britain from making free trade deals like with the United States.
Three Cabinet ministers are, according to The Sun, also ready to quit if the Government likewise backs down and offers a vote on a second referendum.
However, the senior ministers who met with their Labour counterparts on Thursday are reported by The Times to have said that the EU-approved Withdrawal Agreement, which was voted down three times in the House of Commons, has in the small print a customs union “in all but name.”
One source from Labour told the newspaper of record, “The Government side spent the entire time telling us what a good deal it was and how if you looked carefully at the backstop and the political declaration it was a customs union in all but name.
“They listened to what we had to say but there was no sense of movement on their part. We’ll see, but it almost seemed like they were playing for time.”
On Friday, Mrs May revealed that she had written to President of the European Council Donald Tusk to request another delay to Brexit which she acknowledged would mean that the UK would be contesting next month’s European Parliament elections.
DEVELOPING: Theresa May Confirms Brits Will Vote in EU Elections, Despite Having Voted to Leave Bloc Three Years Earlier https://t.co/DIynlbLyy7
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 5, 2019