Prime Minister Theresa May, weaker than ever after her Brexit deal was rejected by parliament three times, made another appeal to the public to explain why she turned to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after giving up on winning over eurosceptics in her Conservative Party, whose opposition has hardened.
With Britain’s departure now set for April 12, May’s government is running out of time to get a deal through a divided parliament, and must come up with a new plan to secure another delay from EU leaders at a summit on Wednesday.
Britain’s biggest shift in foreign and trade policy in more than 40 years is mired in uncertainty, with ministers saying Brexit may never happen, businesses worried the country could leave without a deal, and others just wanting to reverse it.
So far those talks have failed to yield any kind of accord, with Labour policy chiefs saying the government has yet to move from its “red lines”, above all over a customs union, which sets tariffs for goods imported into the EU.
“Specifically provided we are leaving the European Union then it is important that we compromise, that’s what this is about and it is through gritted teeth,” said Andrea Leadsom, the Brexit-supporting Leader of the House of Commons, parliament’s lower house.
“But nevertheless the most important thing is to actually leave the EU,” she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, adding that May’s proposal for a customs arrangement after Brexit was not too far from Labour’s desire for a customs union.