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No-deal Brexit damaging to Britain and Europe, Corbyn says after meeting with EU chiefs

JEREMY CORBYN met EU chiefs for talks on a way forward today following another failure by Theresa May to budge Brussels on the Irish backstop.

Following a meeting with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and other senior figures, the Labour leader said a no-deal departure would be damaging to both Britain and the EU.

“The danger of a no-deal exit from the European Union for Britain is a very serious and very present one,” he said.

“The threat of no deal is something that has deeply exercised people throughout the European Union.

“That was conveyed to us in no uncertain terms during the meetings. That is why we are determined to get no deal off the table.”

He added that the meetings had discussed Labour’s compromise proposals which include a customs union and “dynamic alignment” on workers’ rights. The EU has hinted it could live with Labour’s plan.

“The problem is the Prime Minister is insisting on her deal, which has already been defeated very heavily in Parliament, and running down the clock by trying to keep the threat of no deal on the table, with all the damage that does.”

Mr Barnier said that Brexit talks remained at an “impasse” as he restated Brussels’s refusal to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement or renegotiate the Irish border backstop.

Speaking to French newspaper La Croix, he said: “The process is at an impasse at the moment. We are waiting for Theresa May to tell us how she sees things and what she wants.

“But we are not going to reopen negotiations on the Withdrawal Treaty. We will not change the content of the Irish protocol, which preserves peace in Ireland and the integrity of the single market.

“It is rather for the UK, as guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, to respect the integrity of our single market and to bring us solutions.”

He said that it would be possible to work on alternative arrangements for the Irish border during the 21-month transition period due to begin on March 29, in order to ensure that the backstop is never used.

The previous day, PM Theresa May had a meeting with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who said he was “not very optimistic” that a no-deal Brexit could be avoided.

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