POLITICS
08/04/2019 10:20 BST | Updated 08/04/2019 10:22 BST

Tory MPs Told To Brace For 'Compromise' On Brexit

Cabinet minister says customs union "most likely" outcome of talks with Labour.

Tory MPs have been told they must be prepared to compromise on Brexit and accept that membership of a customs union is now the most likely outcome for the UK.

The warnings come after Theresa May angered pro-Brexit Conservatives by calling on Jeremy Corbyn to help get a deal over the line. 

Jeremy Wright, the culture secretary, warned on Monday morning that there was real “urgency” to breaking the deadlock, telling the BBC’s Today programme: “We must make sure we’re all prepared to compromise to fulfil that primary objective.” 

Robert Buckland, the solicitor general, said agreeing to Labour’s demand of a customs union fulfilled the “vast majority of the aims of Brexit”.

“It’s not perfect but, frankly, in this particular hung parliament none of us can get perfection, we need to compromise.”

He told the BBC’s Westminster Hour late on Sunday evening that “something approximating a customs arrangement or customs union would be the most likely outcome” of the process.

May has told EU leaders she wants a delay to Brexit until June 30 at the latest, with the possibility of an early exit if she can get a deal through parliament.

But Brussels is expected to demand a clear strategy from the prime minister at a meeting of EU leaders on Wednesday, and could insist on a longer delay which would require the UK to participate in European elections – due to be held in May.

Boris Johnson used his Daily Telegraph column on Monday to warn that Tory MPs would not allow May to “surrender” to Corbyn.

“If the UK were to commit to remaining in the customs union, it would make a total and utter nonsense of the referendum result,” he said.

“To agree to be non-voting members of the EU, under the surrender proposed by Jeremy Corbyn – it cannot, must not and will not happen.”

And Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, warned having in an interview with City AM that “independent trade policy” was key part of Brexit.

Meanwhile, EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will travel to Ireland for talks with Leo Varadkar ahead of Wednesday’s summit.

At the weekend, Varadkar said his preference was for a longer delay than the June 30 date proposed by Mrs May and said it was “extremely unlikely” that any one of the 27 EU leaders would use their veto over an extension at the European Council meeting.