Fox says Corbyn's Brexit plan is a 'dangerous delusion'

Darnell Taylor
February 12, 2019

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants further talks with the opposition on a Brexit deal.

However she questioned his support for a customs union with the EU, saying it would prevent Britain from striking free trade deals with other countries around the world.

British Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox, Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and Liechtenstein's Foreign Minister Aurelia Frick shake hands after signing a trade agreement in Bern, Switzerland. Supporters accuse Mrs May of trying to run down the clock until Brexit day so she can effectively say to MPs that it is her deal or no deal.

The Labor Party will attempt to force the government to hold the final, "meaningful vote" by February 26.

Brexit minister Stephen Barclay will meet European Union negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday ahead of a crunch moment in parliament on Thursday, when lawmakers will try to force May to change course or give up control of the exit process.

She told Mr Corbyn: "It is good to see that we agree that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union with a deal and that the urgent task at hand is to find a deal that honours our commitments to the people of Northern Ireland, can command support in Parliament and can be negotiated with the EU - not to seek an election or second referendum".

It comes after Mr Corbyn last week set out five Brexit demands to the Prime Minister, among which included the United Kingdom joining a permanent customs union with the European Union.

She talked up hope of a breakthrough with Brussels, insisting: "I believe we can reach a deal that this House can support".

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"So he wants a customs union and he is unclear as to whether that means he also wants an independent trade policy".

The government has signed a trade deal with Switzerland, heralded as the most significant such agreement in the run-up to Brexit.

Mrs Leadsom said: 'I think she's making quite clear that what Corbyn is demanding is actually not as good as what the Prime Minister's deal is offering.

The Leave campaign figurehead was speaking as Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay prepared for talks with European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier as the Government stepped up efforts to secure changes to the backstop, which is created to keep the Irish border open after the UK's withdrawal.

"Brexiters once promised us dozens of new trade deals would be ready to sign the instant we left the European Union, but now we know they will not even be able to keep the current deals we have as members of the EU".

At the meeting, Department for Trade officials were probed on the pledge by Mr Fox that he would sign free trade agreements to replicate the EU's 40 existing deals with countries around the world.

"I don't think that would be good enough", he said.

Her spokesman said she is committed to replacing the backstop with "alternative arrangements".

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