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Johnson-Corbyn meeting ends in stalemate

Talks between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn ended without agreement, as the two leaders met to discuss Brexit on Wednesday. 

Following MPs' rejection of the prime minister’s plans to push through the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB), Johnson met with Labour leader Corbyn in his office at the House of Commons. Johnson and Corbyn were both accompanied by key advisors Dominic Cummins and Seumas Milne respectively, alongside the two parties’ chief whips.

But differences between the two sides were not pacified. Both Labour and Conservatives echoed there had been "no meeting of minds", as Political Editor of the BBC, Laura Kuenssberg, said she understood nothing had been agreed at the meeting. 

Downing Street reported that there had been no new understanding between the two leaders, with a source commenting: “I do not expect any further talks.” 

The lack of progress between Labour and Conservatives was evident during a customarily testy PMQs. Corbyn described Johnson’s WAB as “worse-than-terrible” as the prime minister accused labour of seeking to scupper Brexit.

The meeting came as the PM announced he would pause the enactment of the WAB on Tuesday. This is after the House of Commons passed Johnson’s Brexit deal in parliament on its second reading, only to have its three-day timetable rejected minutes later. 

It looks more and more unlikely that the UK will leave the EU by 31 October, despite the “do or die” rhetoric Johnson has espoused since moving into Downing Street. On Saturday, Johnson was forced to write a letter to the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, asking for a delay to Brexit. However, a spokesman for Johnson said that the PM was clear in restating his position that he does not personally want one. 

Tusk has called on EU members to accept the request for an extensionas the matter is handed to EU leaders to consider.

 

Photo Credit: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency [CC BY 2.0]

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