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Brexit Latest: Cross Party Talks Continue As Prime Minister Faces Calls To Stand Down
7 May 2019, 08:58 | Updated: 7 May 2019, 12:24
Brexit talks between the government and Labour continue on Tuesday, with Theresa May under growing pressure from members of her own party to quit as Prime Minister.
Chancellor Philip Hammond and deputy PM David Lidington will lead the talks on the government side with Labour's John McDonnell and Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer representing the opposition.
Reports suggest that the government is offering Labour a customs union-style arrangement lasting until 2022, which is when the UK is next set to hold a general election.
The Tories deal suggests that "Labour could then offer the electorate a full customs union while a future Tory administration could pursue a looser relationship that lets Britain strike trade deals with other countries." Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister will meet with 1922 committee leader Sir Graham Brady on Tuesday.
It is understood that the Prime Minister will have discussions with Sir Graham Brady in the wake of the committee requesting "clarity" on Mrs May's timetable for standing down and triggering a leadership contest.
Chancellor Philip Hammond, in Paris for a meeting of finance ministers, said: "The most important thing is that we put in place arrangements which allow us to have as low-friction trade as possible between the UK and the European Union after we have left the EU.
"Of course we should talk to the Labour Party about how to do that."
He played down talks of the Tories splitting over Brexit.
"The Conservative Party is a very broad church. Let's be honest, Europe has been a fractious issue within the party for 45 years but there are many other things that unite us and I am sure we will get through this, we will get beyond it and I'm sure we will go on presenting a broad, right-of-centre offer to the British people that will be attractive to them."
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that all sides in the cross-party Brexit talks between the Government and Labour need to be willing to compromise.
Mr Hunt said that after both main parties lost ground in the local elections in England, it was a "crucial week" coming up for the Brexit negotiations.
However, he said that he did not believe a permanent customs union with the EU - supported by Labour - offered a "sustainable, long-term solution" to the current impasse.
"I think this is a time when we have to be willing to make compromises on all sides because the message of last week was that voters for both main parties are very, very angry about the fact that Brexit hasn't been delivered," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
"I personally think that any kind of permanent customs union wouldn't work in the long run because our economy is too big, but let's see what the parties come up with."
Not all MPs are keen on a customs union deal though, speaking to LBC at the weekend Tory MP Mark Francois called for the Prime Minister to resign.
Mr Francois, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s deputy leader for the pro-Brexit ERG, said that May has to quit as Prime Minister, "the only plan she has left is a to go for a customs union, which keeps us in the EU."