On Friday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said talks to find a Brexit compromise with the Government “have gone as far as they can”. He said the discussions, which have been ongoing for six weeks, could not continue due to the “increasing weakness and instability” of the Government. This latest development will be a crushing blow to embattled Prime Minister Theresa May, who had hoped to use these talks to secure a deal and step down from her post.
So what next?
Alex De Ruyter, director of Birmingham City University’s Centre for Brexit Studies, told the Express Online: “Getting the two major parties to come to an agreement over Brexit was always going to be a big ask.”
He said that now, “Parliament will move to a series of votes over what the next steps should be.”
A document leaked to ITV’s Robert Preston reveals what these will be, although it was published before the talks fell apart.
READ MORE: Brexit timeline – what happens next as Brexit falls apart?
The document is titled “Indicative votes before second reading of the WAB”
The WAB is the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – laying out the multitude of laws needed to make the Brexit deal a reality – which MPs are due to vote on at the beginning of June.
These indicative votes are designed to test the will of the House so it’s clear what would command a majority.
However, we’ve seen these types of votes in the House before – and with Brexit being as divisive as it is, no majority on any option has ever been found.
The document shows the votes could take place as early as next Wednesday.
The leaked report says: “Whilst neither the Government nor the Opposition can commit to be bound by all of these votes, the purpose of holding them is to test the will of the House and, as far as possible, reflect that in the WAB to maximise the chances of it securing Royal Assent.
“To that end, the Government and the Opposition will consider not just the result of each vote but the level of support for it.”
The list will likely be adjusted now Labour has pulled out of talks, but still reveals what the Government’s had hoped to agree with Labour, and how to test the will of the Commons on what kind of customs union or arrangement would be appropriate for the UK.
The five motions proposed in the document are:
1. A BREXIT DEAL
“The UK should leave the European Union with a deal.”
2. BEFORE SUMMER RECESS
“The WAB [or Withdrawal Agreement Bill] should receive Royal Assent by the summer recess in order that the UK leaves the EU on July 31, 2019.”
3. CUSTOMS UNION
This one would have been written for Labour, and perhaps Mrs May hopes if it wins it might reopen talks?
“A customs arrangement that combines the benefits of a customs union – no tariffs, fees, charges or quantitative restrictions – plus no checks on rules of origin when goods move between the UK and the EU with the ability for the UK to determine its own external trade policy and international development policy.
“A comprehensive customs union covering both goods and services, including a UK say in EU trade policy, at least until alternative arrangements that maintain as close to frictionless trade as possible with the EU and no hard border on the island of Ireland have been agreed.
“A customs union covering goods, including a say in relevant EU trade policy, at least until the next election.
“A comprehensive customs union covering both goods and services including a UK say in EU trade policy.”
4. NO PEOPLE’S VOTE
“The deal should not be subject to a second referendum.”
5. THE PACKAGE AGREED WITH LABOUR
Now dead in the water, and an embarrassment for the Government, this document reveals what they had hoped to achieve with the talks.
But many will argue it doesn’t actually offer any compromise on the Government’s red lines and most in Labour would not want to accept it without a confirmatory vote.
“Parliament must approve the UK’s objectives for the negotiations on our future relationship with the EU and approve the treaty governing that relationship before the Government signs it.
“The UK should seek as close to frictionless trade in goods with the EU as possible, subject to the UK being outside the Single Market and ending free movement, to protect jobs in just-in-time supply chains.
“In order to deliver as close to frictionless trade in goods as possible, the UK should dynamically align with those EU rules for goods and agri-food products that are relevant to checks at the border.
“The UK should seek the fullest possible participation in EU tools and measures that protect citizens’ security.
“The UK should seek the fullest possible participation in key EU agencies, including the European Medicines Agency, the European Aviation Safety Agency and the European Chemicals Agency in relation to the economic partnership and Europol and Eurojust in relation to the security partnership.
“Workers’ rights in the UK should be no less favourable than rights in the EU.
“The UK’s withdrawal from the UK should not affect the level of environmental protection in the UK.”