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Jeremy Corbyn declares the death of Brexit talks with PM May -The Asian Age


Britain's tumultuous divorce from the European Union was again in disarray on Friday as the opposition Labor Party declared last-ditch cross-party talks were dead in the twilight of Prime Minister Theresa May's premiership.

Nearly three years after the United Kingdom voted 52% to 48% in a referendum to leave the EU, it is still unclear how, when or if it will ever leave the European club it joined in 1973.

The current deadline to leave is Oct. 31.Brexit talks between May's Conservatives and the opposition Labor Party have ended without an agreement hours after May agreed on Thursday to set out a timetable for her departure in early June.

Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote to May on Friday, informing her that talks had "gone as far as they can" due to "the increasing weakness and instability" of the government. Corbyn said May's government had become unstable and its authority had been eroded undermining confidence in the "government's ability to deliver any compromise agreement". He said the party would oppose May's thrice-rejected deal when it returns to parliament.

May's hands have been tied, knowing that to make concessions to Labor would lead to fury in her divided party. Labor has feared that any compromises on issues such as workers' rights would be torn up by May's successor.

Britain's labyrinthine crisis over Brexit has stunned allies and foes alike, and with deadlock in London the world's fifth largest economy faces an array of options including an exit with a deal, a no-deal exit, an election or a second referendum.

The Brexit impasse is unlikely to be broken swiftly.May will put her 'European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill' to a vote in parliament in early June even though rebels in her party have pledged to defeat it.

Then she must agree a timetable for the election of a successor.May and Labor may try to agree on a process for parliamentary votes designed to find a consensus, the BBC reported. Those votes could happen as early as next week.

"Dear Prime Minister 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 now 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 and thank those involved for their efforts to find common ground.

The talks have been detailed, constructive and have involved considerable effort for both our teams. However, it has become clear that, while there are some areas where compromise has been possible, we have been unable to bridge important policy gaps between us.

Even more crucially, the increasing weakness and instability of your government means there cannot be confidence in securing whatever might be agreed between us.As I said when we met on Tuesday evening, there has been growing concern in both the Shadow Cabinet and parliamentary Labor Party about the government's ability to deliver on any compromise agreement.

As you have been setting out your decision to stand down and Cabinet ministers are competing to succeed you, the position of the government has become ever more unstable and its authority eroded.Not infrequently, proposals by your negotiating team have been publicly contradicted by statements from other members of the Cabinet.

In recent days we have heard senior Cabinet ministers reject any form of customs union, regardless of proposals made by government negotiators. And despite assurances we have been given on protection of environmental, food and animal welfare standards, the International Trade Secretary has confirmed that importing chlorinated chicken as part of a US trade deal remains on the table.

After six weeks of talks, it is only right that the Government now wishes again to test the will of Parliament, and we will carefully consider any proposals the Government wishes to bring forward to break the Brexit deadlock.

However, I should reiterate that, without significant changes, we will continue to oppose the government's deal as we do not believe it safeguards jobs, living standards and manufacturing industry in Britain.

---Reuters, London