Why Theresa May fears dropping her Brexit red lines | Politics News


It was a blunt message to MPs – and not the first time we have heard it from this prime minister.

Put simply: “Vote for something that’s on the table and all these delays can end.”

That was not the only familiar theme.

As far as her seemingly doomed agreement goes, Theresa May said she was sticking to the plan she laid out last week.

PM: We need to leave EU as soon as possible

Talks will continue with Labour to find something both parties can unite behind.

If a compromise deal cannot be thrashed out, then MPs will be presented with a range of options – no doubt including the prime minister’s beleaguered agreement.

Interested parties will spend the intervening time lobbying for this latest extension to be used for another public vote, another Conservative leader, or a further round of negotiations with the EU to try and get rid of the much-hated Irish backstop.

It is unlikely we will see any of those materialise in the immediate future – or at least until Theresa May has had another heave at getting her deal over the line.

Tusk: ‘Do not waste this time’

Brexiteer nerves will not be settled by Jeremy Corbyn’s welcoming of “indications” from the government that they may compromise in “key areas”.

That will be read as code for caving in on a customs union, something that is fiercely opposed by many on the front and backbenches of the Tory party.

The prime minister spoke of “additions and clarifications” to the political declaration – the shorter of the two Brexit deal documents that outlines the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

MPs debating Brexit. Pic: UK Parliament/Mark Duffy
MPs will eventually vote again on a deal. Pic: UK Parliament/Mark Duffy

But non-legally binding changes may not be enough to calm a Labour leader worried about a future Brexiteer prime minister ripping up the promises of their predecessor.

“Red lines must move”, said Jeremy Corbyn.

The problem for Theresa May, is it is those red lines that are keeping divisions in her party from turning into fully blown fractures.


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