U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will this week ask Parliament to give her more time to renegotiate her Brexit deal with the European Union, promising lawmakers a further chance to take control of the process before the clock runs out, according to officials with knowledge of her plans.
The Leave campaign figurehead was speaking as Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay prepared for talks with European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier as the Government stepped up efforts to secure changes to the backstop, which is created to keep the Irish border open after the UK's withdrawal.
Liam Fox, the worldwide trade secretary, described Labour's plan as a risky delusion and warned that it was "not workable", while Boris Johnson accused Jeremy Corbyn of trying to trap the government in a toxic Brexit.
In her formal response to a letter from the Labour leader setting out a possible compromise, the Prime Minister insisted the United Kingdom must have an independent trade policy but sought to reassure Mr Corbyn on workers' rights and the role of MPs in shaping a future trade deal with the EU. I think you would need to have a time limit. Although lawmakers asked for the backstop to be removed, May has said since that the backstop will remain, and that Parliament merely asked for it to be altered.
It also recognises the development of the UK's independent trade policy, she added.
The Prime Minister said: "I am not clear why you believe it would be preferable to seek a say in future European Union trade deals rather than the ability to strike our own deals?"
"This would mean accepting free movement, which Labour's 2017 General Election manifesto made clear you do not support".
Treasury Chief Secretary Liz Truss refused to rule out resigning if Mrs May backed a customs union.
She told Sky News: "I absolutely do not think that should be our policy".
Theresa May has responded to Jeremy Corbyn's letter setting out his five demands for a Brexit deal.
"It seems to me we're now at the point where we can have meaningful talks to get a deal between the main political party leaders", he said.
The comments reflect concern among Brexiteers that Mrs May is preparing to concede too much ground to Labour in an attempt to win cross-party backing for her deal with Brussels.
She'll say that if she hasn't brought them new deal by February 27, there will then be another opportunity to vote, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire confirmed in an interview.
While the prime minister says existing rights will be protected, there will be no automatic upgrade in line with the EU.