BRITAIN’S ruling Conservatives are holding another round of Brexit talks with senior Labour opposition figures today (Thursday) while Parliament continues to debate a bill to delay the leave date.
Talks between the government and opposition are expected to include discussions on a possible second referendum, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said.
“We have been discussing Labour’s alternative plan and issues such as confirmatory votes,” the Labour frontbench member said.
Separately in Parliament, peers in the House of Lords are rushing through a series of votes on a bill which would delay Brexit that passed in the Commons by a majority of one.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper’s bill, which was opposed by the government, would legally require Prime Minister Theresa May to ask for a Brexit delay if it passes the Lords.
Britain currently has until Friday April 12, a week tomorrow, to indicate a way forward to Brussels or risk leaving without a deal.
May criticised the bill and claimed it could lead to an ‘accidental’ no-deal Brexit due to it constraining the government’s ability to negotiate.
Other senior government ministers have also weighed in on the prospect of a second referendum. Chancellor Philip Hammond said the idea was ‘credible’ while Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the focus should be on honouring the result of the 2016 vote.
Today’s developments follow initial talks between May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday. Corbyn said the talks were constructive but inconclusive.
They also come as European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Brussels would not offer another short extension beyond Friday April 12 unless the current draft deal is passed.
EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said earlier this week a second referendum or general election would be valid reasons for allowing an extension.