Prime Minister Theresa May was expected to meet with her cabinet on Tuesday as she comes under increasing pressure to pull out of Brexit talks with the opposition Labour Party and set a date for her departure.
The latest in a series of cross-party meetings aimed at ending the parliamentary deadlock over leaving the European Union (EU) broke up without substantive progress, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
The recent meeting “took stock across the range of issues discussed in talks over the last few weeks,” May’s office said in a statement that tried to downplay its significance.
“We continue to seek to agree a way forward in order to secure our orderly withdrawal from the EU.”
There is increasing anger among members of May’s Conservative Party at her continued talks with Labour and later in the week she will meet with rank-and-file members of Parliament who want a firm timetable for her to step down.
In a letter to The Times, 13 former Cabinet ministers urged the premier not to agree to stay in the EU’s customs union — as Labour wants — for fear of losing the “loyal middle” of her party.
Olly Robbins, May’s lead Brexit negotiator, was expected to travel to Brussels on Tuesday for talks on possible ways to redraft the EU accord on post-Brexit ties if a cross-party deal can be struck, according to a UK official.
‘Betray the Promise’
The Conservatives are hemorrhaging support in polls ahead of European Parliament elections on May 23 as their traditional supporters become frustrated at the failure to leave the EU.
And as May’s authority wanes, the fight to replace her gathers pace, with potential leadership rivals making speeches that go well beyond their briefs.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is a contender to replace May, said the UK should leave the EU “cleanly and properly” and if it doesn’t, it would “betray the promise of democracy.”