Key Brexit legislation to return to Commons in early June

Jeremy Corbyn

Chuka Umunna, a former Labour MP who defected from the party to set up the centrist Change UK party, said in a tweet that Labour was "offering Theresa May and her Brexit plan a lifeline".

Theresa May has tried to delay her resignation for nearly three months by telling ministers she can get a Brexit deal done if she is allowed to stay as Britain's Prime Minister until the end of July.

But after more than four weeks of talks, the two party leaders appear no closer to agreeing a common position, with Labour saying May had not shifted her position and warning a future Conservative leader could rip up any deal they struck.

"Talks this evening between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition were both useful and constructive".

Downing Street said May intends to ask lawmakers to vote on a withdrawal agreement bill starting the week of June 3.

They argue, such a proposal would mean Northern Ireland being treated differently to the rest of the United Kingdom and remaining in a customs union with the EU indefinitely. Many Conservative MPs have rejected Britain remaining in the customs union.

As positions harden in parliament, with many wanting to either leave the European Union without a deal or to stop Brexit altogether, May has turned to the opposition Labour Party, led by veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn, to negotiate a way out of the impasse.

"In particular he raised doubts over the credibility of government commitments, following statements by Conservative MPs and Cabinet ministers seeking to replace the prime minister", his spokesman said.

Former Brexit minister Steve Baker questioned her decision to bring the legislation for her "failed deal" before Parliament and suggested it would do little to counter the threat posed by Nigel Farage's Brexit Party. It is also the Peterborough byelection, which Labour, the Tories and the Brexit party are tightly contesting, on 6 June.

As well as the Brexit deadlock, the Conservative Party suffered major losses in local elections this month and is trailing in opinion polls ahead of the May 23 European Parliament elections. "We urge you to think again".

"No leader can bind his or her successor so the deal would likely be at best temporary, at worst illusory", said the letter.

The questions had come after she retweeted praise of a party political broadcast from the Brexit Party on Twitter.

Shailesh Vara, the junior Northern Ireland minister, became the first member of May's government to resign over the deal on Thursday.

"I have talked to colleagues, some of whom voted for it last time, and they think it is dead and they will vote against it this time", he told Talk Radio on Wednesday. Such a scenario could see Labour's "customs union etc" amendment pass, a "public vote" amendment fall and then the whole bill rejected as a result.

Number 10 said efforts were continuing to find a "sustainable" majority for the deal, with discussions involving DUP and Labour MPs.

Jo Johnson, the younger brother of Boris, who resigned as foreign secretary over Brexit in July, set the ball rolling last week after he resigned as transport minister over what he called Theresa May's "delusional" Brexit plans.

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