Brexit: ‘No significant shift’ by government in talks, says McDonnell | - South Africa News

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John McDonnellImage copyright EPA

There has been no “significant shift” by the government in cross-party Brexit talks, John McDonnell has said.

The shadow chancellor said Labour had not seen enough movement from ministers, especially on the issue of a customs union with the EU, adding: “We’re not near what we want.”

Cabinet discussed the state of the talks earlier, which have been going on for weeks with little sign of progress.

Mr McDonnell insisted Labour had “compromised in some areas”.

He also criticised a letter from former Tory cabinet ministers to Theresa May urging her not to agree a deal with Labour that includes a customs union.

Speaking at a Wall Street Journal event in London, he said “the customs union element is absolutely key to us”, but the letter gave the party “no security” that any deal done would be honoured in the long-term.

“Our big problem now is if we’re going to march our troops in Parliament to the top of the hill to vote for a deal and then that’s overturned, literally, in weeks, I think that would be a cataclysmic act of bad faith.”

Following Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley said ministers had agreed that talks with Labour to try to find a compromise would continue.

So far both sides have resisted calls to set a deadline on the negotiations.

But the prime minister’s official spokesman said the government believed it was “imperative” that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – which would enact the legislation required to leave the EU – was brought to Parliament in time for it pass all its stages by the summer recess.

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