There’s been a ‘significant’ change in the Brexit talks that’s very bad news for Theresa May

Theresa May Conservative
Timothy J. Woods

The EU is reportedly holding talks in private with Labour as it fears the Conservative government could collapse. The development will come as a bitter blow to Prime Minister Theresa May.

Back-room talks

The EU has “significantly” stepped up Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, according [paywall] to The Telegraph. EU officials have spoken directly to Corbyn and Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer.

Sources told [paywall] The Telegraph there’s now a “significant change in tone” from Brussels towards Labour. Corbyn has previously stated that Labour is “ready to take up the responsibility for Brexit negotiations”.

Lost her authority

EU officials have recently raised doubts about the Prime Minister’s authority to negotiate Brexit and are concerned about a possible UK government collapse.

An EU diplomat said:

We can’t take the risk of going forward if her government might fall before December. What are her commitments worth to other EU leaders if she is a lame duck or gone?

The risk of a government collapse in the UK results from the Conservatives’ precarious grip on power due to their minority in parliament. The government relies on the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to pass major legislation. And the Conservatives have worsened this fragility through Brexit divisions; such as the tensions between May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Dead in the water

To make matters worse for May, the EU reportedly plans to reject requests for talks on a transitional arrangement with the UK until the exit terms are settled. When the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michael Barnier, met with all 27 EU countries, France and Germany made their displeasure at doing so clear.

This comes on the back of news that a German business group warned German companies operating in the UK to prepare for a “very hard” Brexit. German businesses employ around 400,000 workers in the UK.

The Conservatives of chaos

With the Conservatives fighting each other, a Prime Minister the subject of ridicule, and Brexit talks not going to plan, it’s questionable whether the current government can deliver the deal Britain needs. The EU’s interest in stepping up talks with Labour also demonstrates its weakening faith in the Conservative government.

And it suggests that it too sees Labour as a ‘government in waiting’.

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