Brexit Enters the ‘Flextension’ Era. It Could Be Short. – The New York Times

But time is short and common ground between the government and the opposition is limited. There are hints that Mrs. May could accept a customs union with Europe that could protect manufacturing companies by ensuring there are no tariffs on imports and exports to continental Europe.

But there is little sign that she will accept a Labour proposal to remain close to the bloc’s single market. That would remove many more barriers in goods and services but would almost certainly involve accepting free movement of people, perhaps the one thing that Mrs. May has vowed to stop as part of Brexit.

“I can’t quite see how they make an agreement. I can see Labour moving to single market membership but I can’t see May moving even halfway there,” said Simon Tilford, a Europe expert at Chatham House, a research institute in London.

The alternative to striking a joint deal is to try to persuade Labour to commit to honoring the outcome of a series of votes on different Brexit options in Parliament. But Mr. Corbyn is expected to resist that suggestion.

“The risk is that we get a pretty hard Brexit out of that and Labour is portrayed as having facilitated it,” said Mr. Tilford, something that would appall many of the party’s supporters.

Even if some cross-party agreement can be reached, it looks unlikely to be approved by Parliament before Britain’s immediate fate is decided at a meeting in Brussels next Wednesday.


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