Theresa Could and Jeremy Corbyn look set to carry additional talks over Brexit.
The prime minister struck a conciliatory tone in her response to a letter from Mr Corbyn, which set out his 5 calls for for a Brexit deal.
She mentioned she wished the 2 events to debate “various preparations” to the Irish backstop – a dedication to keep away from a tough border.
However there stays a divide over the customs union, though she didn’t reject any of his circumstances outright.
Worldwide Commerce Secretary Liam Fox known as Mr Corbyn’s demand for a customs union with the EU a “harmful delusion”.
No date has been set for the subsequent assembly, however the letter concludes with Mrs Could saying she regarded ahead to the 2 events assembly “as quickly as attainable”.
In the meantime, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and EU negotiator Michel Barnier will maintain talks in Strasbourg later, because the EU and UK Brexit negotiating groups talk about proposed adjustments to the deal.
Writing her response to his letter of final Wednesday, Mrs Could informed the Labour chief: “It’s good to see that we agree that the UK ought to go away the European Union with a deal and that the pressing job at hand is to discover a deal that honours our commitments to the individuals of Northern Eire, can command help in Parliament and may be negotiated with the EU – to not search an election or second referendum.”
That is regardless of Mr Corbyn repeatedly saying there must be a common election if Mrs Could can’t get a deal by Parliament. He has additionally confronted strain from a few of his MPs to push for one more public vote on Brexit.
Labour MP David Lammy – who helps the “Folks’s Vote” marketing campaign for a brand new referendum – mentioned Mrs Could’s letter “makes it clear there is no such thing as a hope of her agreeing” with Mr Corbyn’s calls for and mentioned his get together ought to marketing campaign now for a contemporary vote.
The anti-Brexit Liberal Democrat’s spokesman, Tom Brake, mentioned it was “astonishing” the 2 leaders had been beginning “severe discussions about delivering disastrous Brexit collectively” 900 days after the vote to depart the EU.
He added: “It’s time for Jeremy Corbyn to surrender the letters and as a substitute draw his consideration to Labour Occasion coverage and get behind the marketing campaign for a Folks’s Vote.”
Does the letter give political cowl?
By Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor
It might have been a really completely different form of letter.
Mrs Could might have simply underscored her pink strains: No to extending Article 50. No to a different referendum. No to a customs union.
As a substitute, it is a way more conciliatory and consensual letter.
There’s reward for Mr Corbyn in accepting the precedence now must be on reaching a Brexit deal, moderately than urgent for a common election.
Reward too for his acknowledgement that the backstop has acquired to be modified.
And there is some motion on employment rights and the promise of extra cash for onerous pressed communities.
Even on the customs union – their key dividing space – Mrs Could’s language is extra nuanced, though privately her aides insist there may be no query of accepting a everlasting customs union.
It is unlikely to be wherever close to sufficient to win over Mr Corbyn.
However it might be sufficient for these labour MPs in go away supporting constituencies, who’re in search of political cowl to again or abstain on Mrs Could’s deal.
What has Labour requested for – and the way has the PM responded?
In his letter, Mr Corbyn requested for 5 adjustments to be made to the Brexit deal.
The customs union
The Labour chief known as for a “everlasting and complete UK-wide customs union” with the EU to be launched to the deal, with the identical exterior tariff.
He mentioned it will give the UK a say on any future commerce offers that the EU could strike.
In her reply, Mrs Could mentioned the political declaration – the second a part of her deal which is a non-legally binding assertion on the long run relationship between the UK and EU – “explicitly offers for the advantages of a customs union”, with no tariffs, charges, costs and restrictions.
However, she mentioned, it additionally permits for the UK to strike up its personal commerce offers elsewhere.
Mrs Could wrote: “I’m not clear why you imagine it will be preferable to hunt a say in future EU commerce offers moderately than the power to strike our personal offers?”
However, she added her reassurance that securing frictionless commerce with the EU was “one among our key negotiating targets”.
Talking in Switzerland, the place Mr Fox has simply signed a deal to see the nation commerce with the UK on the identical phrases it does now, the minister mentioned the concept was “not workable”.
He added: “The concept that we are able to have a customs union with the EU and on the similar time, as an out of doors nation, affect EU commerce coverage, is to not perceive the EU treaties.
“It is vitally clear from the European Union that non-EU members don’t have a say in EU commerce coverage so to faux that you might accomplish that is a harmful delusion.”
The Single Market
Mr Corbyn additionally wished the deal to incorporate a promise for the UK to be intently aligned with the Single Market after it leaves the EU, “underpinned by shared establishments and obligations”.
Mrs Could quoted the EU as saying the present deal offers for the closest relationship attainable exterior the Single Market.
She added: “I’m not certain what precisely you imply if you say ‘shared establishments and obligations’, however our groups can discover that.”
The PM additionally repeated the EU’s warning that fully frictionless commerce is simply attainable if the UK stays within the Single Market.
“This could imply accepting free motion, which Labour’s 2017 Basic Election manifesto made clear you don’t help,” she added.
Labour has known as for the UK to remain consistent with the EU on rights and protections for employees, which was included in Mr Corbyn’s letter.
On this level, Mrs Could mentioned the federal government had already made commitments on employees’ rights, including: “We’re inspecting alternatives to offer additional monetary help to communities that really feel left behind.”
This might be referring to proposals that had been mentioned to have been mentioned earlier this month from a bunch of Labour MPs in predominantly Depart-supporting constituencies, to allocate extra funds to their communities for giant infrastructure initiatives.
The PM additionally mentioned that whereas she had “all the time been clear that Brexit shouldn’t be on the expense of employees’ rights or environmental protections”, she didn’t help routinely following EU guidelines in these areas.
“Given their significance, we imagine these choices must be taken in our Parliament by our elected representatives,” she added.
However she tried to reassure Mr Corbyn that the federal government had made legally-binding commitments to not transfer again in these areas and they’re ready to think about legislating to offer these commitments drive in UK regulation.
The Labour chief known as for a promise to take part in EU businesses and funding programmes on the atmosphere, schooling and trade regulation after Brexit.
The prime minister mentioned the federal government helps participation in EU programmes in a variety of areas, as set out within the political declaration – which incorporates areas akin to science and innovation, youth, tradition and schooling, and abroad improvement.
Mrs Might also mentioned the federal government wished the closest attainable relationship with EU businesses in “closely regulated sectors”, akin to medicines and aviation, “topic to us being exterior the only market”.
Lastly, Mr Corbyn demanded agreements with the EU on safety, akin to entry to the European Arrest Warrant database.
Mrs Could mentioned the federal government “shares your ambition in relation to safety preparations”.
She mentioned the political declaration secured settlement on the alternate of Passenger Title Document, DNA, fingerprint and automobile registration information and on preparations “akin to the European Arrest Warrant to give up suspected and convicted individuals effectively and expeditiously.”
However, she added, there’s a problem that as a 3rd nation exterior of the EU, there are restrictions on the UK’s means to take part in some EU instruments and measures.
Mrs Could mentioned: “The federal government doesn’t imagine it will be within the pursuits of both the UK or the EU and its Member States to see a discount in joint safety capabilities.
“Labour’s help for this place going into the subsequent part will, I hope, ship a strong sign that the EU ought to rethink its stance.”
Labour is but to reply to the letter.