May open to com­pro­mise, but Brexit hur­dles per­sist

The Buffalo News - - WORLD NEWS -

LON­DON – With the clock tick­ing down to­ward last-minute talks in Brus­sels on Bri­tain’s with­drawal from the Euro­pean Union, Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May this week­end took an­other step away from hard­line anti-Europe law­mak­ers in her Con­ser­va­tive Party and sought to por­tray her­self as com­mit­ted to com­pro­mise talks that stalled last week.

But op­po­si­tion Labour lead­ers on Sun­day morn­ing main­tained that May had not yet bent to any of their de­mands on the with­drawal, known as Brexit. And what­ever over­tures she makes to Labour, an­a­lysts said, she will strug­gle to guar­an­tee that her suc­ces­sor as prime min­is­ter or a fu­ture Par­lia­ment will not rip up any com­pro­mise deal – a ma­jor stick­ing point in the cross-party talks.

May this week was ex­pected to seek an­other de­lay to Bri­tain’s de­par­ture from Euro­pean lead­ers. She is also try­ing to pres­sure Labour law­mak­ers who may be search­ing for an ex­cuse to back a deal to avoid be­ing seen as thwart­ing Brexit.

But while May ap­peared to soften her tone in a state­ment late Satur­day, any com­pro­mise talks face a chal­leng­ing road ahead.

“Pre­sum­ably, there is some as­pect of try­ing to con­vince the EU of her good faith in those talks,” said Tim Bale, a pol­i­tics pro­fes­sor at Queen Mary Univer­sity of Lon­don. But he said Euro­pean lead­ers were likely to see that a com­pro­mise be­tween May and Labour’s leader, Jeremy Cor­byn, re­mained far off.

May had vowed for months that she would back only a Brexit plan that even­tu­ally took Bri­tain out of Europe’s main eco­nomic struc­tures, but on Satur­day she sug­gested a com­pro­mise could be worked out around a more lim­ited goal: re­gain­ing con­trol over im­mi­gra­tion from con­ti­nen­tal Europe.

That would open the door to a plan that met some of Labour’s de­mands. But Labour lead­ers said the prime min­is­ter had not yet budged on sub­stan­tive pieces of her deal.

“We haven’t seen over­all any real changes to the deal,” Re­becca Long­Bai­ley, a se­nior Labour of­fi­cial, said.

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