17 May 2019 | UK NEWS

The cross-party talks between the Conservative Government and the Labour Opposition broke down today, with Jeremy Corbyn writing to the Prime Minister to say that these talks had “now gone as far as they can”.

Mr Corbyn’s letter explains that the “important policy gaps” still remain and appear insurmountable. While praising the overall process of the talks, on both sides, he further notes that he and his Shadow Cabinet do not have confidence in the Government’s ability to secure any commitments agreed to in these talks, referring to the “increasing weakness and instability” of Theresa May’s administration. He also makes reference in this context to what many now see as the Prime Minister’s inevitable resignation and the Conservative leadership contest to follow. The tone of his letter appears very much in line with that of a potential Prime Minister-in-waiting. Readers can view it here:

In also highlighting the notable contradictions between policy points put forward for negotiation and public statements by senior Ministers, however, it is worth bearing in mind that the same has been true in the Labour camp. Nonetheless, the cross-party compromise phase of the UK’s ‘internal’ Brexit negotiations is now over and has not produced a result.

According to Mrs May’s plan, she will now expect to outline a further process of indicative voting in the Commons, possibly in the form of a run-off, in order to find a way forward that is acceptable to Parliament. As ever with such proceedings, it is eminently possible that the end result will be one that nobody is happy with.

The news is likely to generate further consternation within the 1922 Committee, given that they had met yesterday and agreed to allow Mrs May another two weeks to get her Withdrawal Agreement ratified in Parliament. However, this was presumed to be contingent upon the cross-party talks yielding a workable compromise, given that there are no other foreseeable circumstances in which this could happen. Today’s news, then, calls the nature of this extension into question.

Nonetheless, the Prime Minister is expecting to bring forward a second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the first week of June regardless – a week that also includes President Trump’s state visit, and the Peterborough by-election to replace Fiona Onasanya. By all accounts, that week will not be boring!

Elsewhere in UK political news, The Telegraph has published a three-part documentary called The Disk, in which it chronicles its investigation of the MPs’ expenses scandal that broke 10 years ago this month. This notably marks the last time that trust in elected politicians was shattered, prior to the high drama around Britain’s departure from the EU.

The Mirror has also revealed “online loopholes” in the Brexit Party’s registered supporter scheme, by which they mean that anyone – including non-UK residents using non-UK credit or debit cards – can register and thereby send money to the Party. They add that MPs will now launch an investigation into this, following their revelations.

Patrick is a political commentator and freelance translator, with a background in educational IT. In 2019, he stood as a Conservative Councillor candidate in Crewe West.

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