British Prime Minister Theresa May.
London: British Prime Minister Theresa May earned a stay of execution from her Conservative Party after a key panel of lawmakers kept the rules on leadership challenges unchanged, as talks with the opposition Labour Party to find a compromise on Brexit gained new life.
Later on, the government and the opposition Labour Party put out statements indicating progress in their talks to forge a consensus on Brexit. May’s office said both parties are acting "with seriousness" and plan to exchange documents, while Labour said in a statement that "the negotiating teams are working to establish scope for agreement."
May is battling to get a Brexit deal approved by Parliament, which three times has rejected the agreement she brokered with the EU, forcing her into the discussions with Labour. The prime minister has told her party she’ll go once that’s done. But that’s not enough for some of her backbenchers, who want to know when she’ll go even if she can’t secure a deal that passes muster.
Tory MPs tried and failed to oust the prime minister in December, and under current leadership rules, they can’t challenge her again for a year. But the rules can be changed by the 1922 Committee, which last month rejected doing so. The panel’s executive stopped short of that line once again Wednesday, according to two people familiar with the meeting.
Labour’s statement that the teams will meet again next week as they seek scope for an agreement was more positive than recent pronouncements. After Tuesday’s round of talks, the party’s business spokeswoman, Rebecca Long-Bailey, had said "the government needs to move on its red lines."
US Urges Progress
"It is the intention to have a further vote probably on second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill before the European elections take place," May 23, "and hopefully in the much nearer future than that," Brady said. "That’s my understanding."
One ally wants May to get on with Brexit: US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, on a visit to London, told reporters that US President Donald Trump is "eager" to sign a new trade deal with the UK to “take our No. 1 trade relationship to unlimited new heights”.
May had hoped to avoid holding European elections by striking a deal with Labour, but Lidington conceded on Tuesday that the vote will have to go ahead.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday will launch his party’s campaign for the vote railing against "the government’s incompetence and division on Brexit," and pledging to bridge the divide between Remain supporters and Brexiteers, according to a statement from his office.
"It would be ridiculous if I didn’t vote Conservative," Osborne said. "But that doesn’t mean the Evening Standard will necessarily be recommending a Conservative vote."