U.K. Conservatives Still Seeking Brexit Deal Before EU Election

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Theresa May is still pursuing a Brexit deal that would get the U.K. out of the European Union before elections next month.

With negotiations with the opposition Labour Party set to continue next week, there’s still time for Parliament to settle on a deal before the May 23 vote, Conservative Party Chairman Brandon Lewis said in an interview with the BBC on Sunday.

May herself has described the discussions as “difficult,” while Labour officials say she has refused to compromise. Without a cross-party agreement, the U.K. looks certain to hold elections for the European Parliament on May 23, almost three years after the country voted narrowly to leave the bloc.

Labour isn’t “dragging its heels” in the discussions, the party’s business spokeswoman Rebecca Long-Bailey said on Sky News.

“The discussions so far have been productive, we’ve gone into a lot of detail, there seems to be a willingness on both sides to move toward some form of consensus,” she said. “But as yet we haven’t seen the government move on any of their red lines.”

The House of Commons has three times rejected May’s Brexit agreement. Labour wants May to guarantee the U.K. will join a post-Brexit customs union with the EU; May argues that would rule out pursuing free-trade deals with countries including the U.S.

An official said Thursday that the government probably won’t be ready to put the deal to another vote in Parliament next week.

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