Theresa May blames the breakdown of cross-party Brexit talks on Labour MP Keir Starmer’s push for a second referendum

Theresa May blames the breakdown of cross-party Brexit talks on Labour MP Keir Starmer’s push for a second referendum

THERESA May blamed Labour’s civil war over a second referendum as Jeremy Corbyn ended cross-party Brexit talks. The PM and her senior Ministers rip

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THERESA May blamed Labour’s civil war over a second referendum as Jeremy Corbyn ended cross-party Brexit talks.

The PM and her senior Ministers ripped into Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer as Labour pulled the plug on six weeks of negotiations.

No10 cited Sir Keir Starmer’s demands for a confirmatory referendum as the reason behind the collapse of cross-party talks
PA:Press Association

In a letter to No.10, Jeremy Corbyn blamed the PM’s “weakness and instability” as he said the discussions had “gone as far as they can”.

But speaking in Bristol Mrs May stormed: “We have not been able to overcome the fact there isn’t a common position in Labour about whether they want to deliver Brexit or hold a second referendum which could reverse it.”

Downing Street went even further – citing Sir Keir Starmer’s demands for a confirmatory referendum on any deal as the key factor behind the collapse in talks.

A Government source said: “It is clear that the Shadow Brexit Secretary has fairly strident views on this issue. And he represented and he led the Labour team during the ministerial plenary sessions for the most part.”

Insiders insisted the negotiating teams had come close to a deal centred around a closer customs agreement with the EU and greater post-Brexit protections for workers’ rights and environment.

JULY 31 BREXIT

Some hoped to sign a deal that could have seen the UK ‘Brexit’ on July 31. But Labour’s decision yesterday leaves Theresa May’s chaotic Brexit plans in shreds.

She is now committed to presenting the Withdrawal Deal in the Commons in the week beginning June 3rd knowing a hardcore of Tory Eurosceptics and most of the Labour Party will vote against.

The PM’s chief of staff Gavin Barwell yesterday told Tories the party now faced two “unpalatable” options – No Deal or a second referendum.

He confirmed the Government was considering whether to hold a new series of ‘Indicative Votes’ in the Commons to try and find a way through the deadlock.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay claimed that without an agreement in the Commons the choices would be No Deal or No Brexit altogether.

Jubilant ‘Remain’ Labour MPs stepped up calls for a second referendum which would give the public a choice between the PM’s proposed deal or Remain.

Labour veteran Hilary Benn said: “There is only one way forward. Go back to the people.”

Taking to Twitter, Keir Starmer snapped: “The Prime Minister is trying to blame everyone but herself for the collapse of cross-party talks. She knows the reality is she couldn’t carry her own side or offer a realistic compromise. Any deal agreed wouldn’t last a day under a new Tory leader.”

Motors in reverse

EUROPEAN car sales have slumped for the eighth consecutive month as Brexit uncertainty fuels weak demand in Britain.

Registrations of new cars in the EU fell by 2.9% in the first four months of this year, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

German brands including BMW and Daimler, which makes Mercedes, have been badly hit and are now looking at cost-cutting to halt sliding profits.

Last month deliveries of new cars dropped by 4.1% in the UK, with British consumers putting off big purchases until the outcome of Brexit is clear.

Markets in Italy, which is only narrowly avoiding going into recession, and Spain have also significantly weakened in recent months.

The figures come in the wake of disappointing manufacturing output and growth in Germany, the EU’s largest economy, and the eurozone overall.

Hans-Olaf Henkel, a German MEP and former head of the BDI business lobby, told The Sun: “Not only Britain suffers from Brexit, Germany does, too.

“Britain leaving the EU is equal to 19 other smaller and medium-sized countries of the EU leaving simultaneously.

“The drop of German car exports to Britain after Brexit is already more significant than the the drop of their exports during the financial crisis.

“It would be in Germany’s best interest to do everything possible to keep Britain in the EU.”

  • By Nick Gutteridge in Brussels


Fuming business leaders demanded MPs cancel their Whitsun half-term break – and find an urgent resolution.

CBI chief Carolyn Fairbairn said: “Another day of failed politics, another dispiriting day for British business. Six wasted weeks while uncertainty paralyses our economy.

“The May parliamentary recess should be cancelled and used to agree a deal as soon as possible. This is no time for holidays. It’s time to get on with it.”

Government sources say Sir Keir Starmer ‘represented and led the Labour team during the ministerial plenary sessions for the most part’
Getty Images – Getty

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