The Latest: Labour deputy says party must join Brexit talks
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s exit from the European Union (all times local):
The deputy leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party says it has an obligation to join talks with Prime Minister Theresa May if she is ready to hold an “intelligent conversation” about Brexit.
Tom Watson said Saturday the party is obligated to take part out of respect for the democratic process.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to join the crisis talks, which are aimed at building a consensus in Parliament. Corbyn insists Labour will not take part unless May first rules out a “no-deal” Brexit, which she says she doesn’t have the power to do.
Corbyn is the only party leader who has refused to participate in the talks, which thus far have not produced a breakthrough in the parliamentary situation.
May’s Brexit withdrawal plan was soundly crushed in a Tuesday vote.
Romania’s foreign ministry says Britain has offered reassurances that the half a million Romanian citizens in the U.K. can continue living there regardless of the outcome of Brexit.
The ministry said Saturday European Affairs Minister George Ciamba spoke to British Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan on Friday about the situation of Romanians working or studying in the U.K.
The ministry said Duncan “reiterated that regardless of the outcome of Brexit, the rights of Romanian citizens in Britain would be respected.”
There has been uncertainty about what will happen to the many European migrants in Britain when the country leaves the European Union on March 29.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is suggesting it may be possible to give Britain more time to leave the European Union if it comes up with a good strategy, saying a no-deal Brexit would be bad for everyone.
Kurz is quoted by Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper Saturday saying that “If London presents an orderly strategy and plan, a postponement of the exit date by a couple of months is conceivable.”
Kurz, whose country turned over the rotating EU presidency to Romania in December, says that “Britain is now in the process of defining its ideas.”
As it stands, Britain will leave the EU without an agreement on March 29 unless its Parliament approves a deal before then.
Kurz says “one thing is certain: a hard, disorderly Brexit would harm us all.”
Britain’s Labour Party is calling for an “open and frank debate” on the government’s stalled Brexit plan but still won’t meet with Prime Minister Theresa May.
The main opposition party’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer plans to use a speech Saturday to say it is now up to Parliament to take the tough decisions needed to break the impasse.
May’s withdrawal plan from the European Union was soundly rejected in Parliament this week, leading to crisis talks before her return to Parliament Monday with amended plans.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn refuses to take part in the talks until May removes the possibility of a “no-deal” departure from the table.
He said in a Friday night letter to May that the talks are just a delaying tactic.