UK Brexit negotiator back in Brussels for last-minute talks

Erika Holt
May 15, 2019

Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party is facing the prospect of a mauling in the upcoming European elections, with polls suggesting the governing party could finish as low as fifth place - while Nigel Farage's recently formed Brexit Party could emerge the big victor.

"We continue to seek to agree a way forward in order to secure our orderly withdrawal from the European Union", the spokesman said.

Expectations from the election have also piled pressure on the Labour Party around its stance on Brexit, its ongoing talks with the government and whether it should demand a public confirmatory vote no matter what the deal agreed with the government is.

He said the Conservative Party believed a new referendum "would be a betrayal of what people voted for, and we want to implement the first referendum".

No date has so far been set for the summer recess, but Parliament usually rises towards the end of July.

"We will therefore be bringing forward the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week beginning the 3rd June".

Appearing on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show, Farage said it was "ludicrous" that he should be asked about his previously stated views on areas including the best form of Brexit, a second referendum, privatising the NHS, migration and gun control.

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She added: "For this reason, I wrote to local party members last week to let them know that I would not be standing for the leadership this time".

A postponement of Brexit, Britain's departure from the EU for further negotiations has left it having to hold elections on May 23 for the European Parliament, and the result is likely to mark another stage in the erosion of the country's traditional two-party political system.

Labour, which is running second in the polls, is also being tested by the elections. The collapse in support is piling pressure on May to set a date to step down.

May, who secured the leadership in the chaos that followed Britain's 2016 vote to leave the European Union, has promised to step down if lawmakers back the Brexit deal she struck with Brussels.

Labour negotiators want any deal struck with the government reflected in the non-binding political declaration, which sets out the framework for the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union and was published alongside Mrs May's withdrawal agreement.

"No deal planning has never stopped", the spokesman said.

Britain's chief Brexit negotiator Olly Robbins was due in Brussels for what May's spokesman said was a routine visit.

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