Fox says Corbyn’s Brexit plan is a ‘dangerous delusion’

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after a meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk at the European Council headquarters in Brussels Thursday Feb. 7 2019

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 point of the exercise was to say, look, there is a majority for a close economic relationship, if you're prepared to try to find it, and I've said for some time we should test that by having a vote on a customs union".

Her response comes ahead of another week of Brexit debate and voting in Westminster.

Mrs Leadsom said there was "no chance" Mrs May would adopt Mr Corbyn's "view of the world", adding: 'The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear we're leaving the EU, we're leaving the customs union, we're leaving the single market'.

Signing the agreement in Bern today, worldwide trade secretary Liam Fox said: "Switzerland is one of the most valuable trading partners that we are seeking continuity for, accounting for more than £32bn worth of trade a year".

While Mrs May questioned the move, describing it as "unclear", she did not reject the proposal out of hand and welcomed the Labour leader's desire to leave the European Union with a deal.

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 know that sounds nebulous, a word you might choose to use.

Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss refused to rule out resigning if Mrs May backed a customs union.

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However, BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said it appears there are some potential stumbling blocks to a deal.

She has said she wants to bring a revised deal back to parliament for a vote "as soon as possible" but has not yet set a date for doing so.

"They will just try to do a deal that is toxic".

Mr Johnson said Mrs May's priority should be to secure a time limit on the backstop - meant to prevent the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland - before the next election scheduled for June 2022. But the former foreign secretary insisted the mechanism would need to expire before the next general election in 2022.

Mrs May is to give a statement to Parliament on Tuesday, a day earlier than planned.

Speaking after a dinner with Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay on Monday night, European Union negotiator Michel Barnier said the talks had been "constructive", but added it was "clear from our side we're not going to reopen the withdrawal agreement, but we will continue our discussions in the coming days".

Mr Barnier's deputy Sabine Weyand made clear that the European Commission is not pinning its hopes on the United Kingdom eventually deciding to mount a second referendum, telling a conference in Germany that the only option was a structured exit.

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

"But, the solution to this has to be to get Jeremy Corbyn, or the Labour Party, or indeed Parliament as a whole, to come behind a deal".

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