April 9, 2019 / 12:10 PM / 16 days ago

Government and Labour to discuss customs union in latest Brexit talks - McDonnell

Britain's Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell of Labour Party is seen outside the Cabinet Office, as uncertainty over Brexit continues, in London, Britain, April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - The Labour Party will discuss the prospect of customs union with the EU in talks with the government on finding a Brexit compromise on Tuesday, said John McDonnell, its finance policy chief.

Negotiating teams have resumed talks on trying to find a way forward on Britain’s departure from the European Union that can persuade parliament to ratify a divorce deal.

Asked if the government had shown any willingness to change its position on a customs union, McDonnell told reporters: “Not yet, not even changes in language that I detect, but we’ll see what comes out this afternoon.”

McDonnell said the customs union, something the government has so far resisted, but which is seen as the most likely area for compromise, was the first item on the agenda for the talks, which will include Chancellor Philip Hammond.

He said other items on the agenda for the talks included environmental protections, alignment with the EU single market and preventing a future Conservative prime minister unpicking any deal. The talks were expected to end around 1630 GMT.

He said Labour was looking at ways international law - possibly through documents attached to the existing negotiated exit deal with the EU - could be used to secure the long-term future of any agreement Labour reaches with the government

Reporting by William James, writing by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison

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