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8 June 2012updated 08 Jul 2021 1:47pm

Jeremy Corbyn plays down his Brexit talks with Theresa May

By Patrick Maguire

Jeremy Corbyn has sought to reassure Labour MPs nervous about the prospect of a Brexit compromise with Theresa May.

The leader of the opposition met the Prime Minister to discuss a potential deal this afternoon, with both sides having signalled their willingness to compromise ahead of the talks. 

That opening gambit provoked some anxiety among Labour MPs, especially those from the party’s Remain wing, that Corbyn would renege on the party’s official Brexit policy – or accept a settlement that did not include a new referendum. 

But in an intervention that reflects just how fraught the internal politics of engaging with the Prime Minister are for the Labour leadership, Corbyn has this evening written to the parliamentary Labour party to stress that “no commitments” have arisen from today’s talks.

He also emphasised that he had proactively “raised the prospect of a confirmatory vote” – and suggested he had been stonewalled by the Prime Minister.

The full text of the email – passed to the New Statesman – is below.

Dear colleague,

I held a meeting this afternoon with the Prime Minister, Government ministers and officials.

I was accompanied by Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Nick Brown, and staff.

The Government said they were keen to to find common ground and reach an agreement with us.

We have had constructive exploratory discussions about how to break the Brexit deadlock.

We have agreed a programme of work between our teams to explore the scope for agreement, but no commitments have been made.

We raised the benefits of a customs union and close alignment to the single market with dynamic alignment on rights, protections and standards.

It was agreed there would further technical discussions on a customs union and close single market alignment. The civil service will be made available to us to support those discussions.

It was agreed that the Chief Whips would meet to consider a timetable for a Withdrawal Agreement — with no commitment to support it.

There was also discussion on what sort of legislative lock could be used to enforce any agreed changes.

I also raised the prospect of a confirmatory vote. The Prime Minister remained resistant to this proposal.

We will meet further in the coming days, and I will continue to update the PLP.

Jeremy Corbyn
Leader of the Opposition

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