It all feels like we've been here before: politicians saying one thing and then doing another. That certainly feels like it because the UK Government is saying that they are keen to avoid holding EU Parliament election next month; yet they are going ahead with plans for the very same election.
And with parliament in recess the past week has been almost devoid of Brexit news. Parliament reconvenes on Tuesday but in the meantime cross party talks between the Conservatives and Labour have been continuing.
In an interview last Sunday, David Lidington (frequently described as PM May’s de facto deputy), said that both sides were testing out each other’s ideas as they try and resolve the deadlock. The intention he suggested was to “take stock” when parliament returns. Lidington claimed that the two parties were not far apart but that a deal would require “movement on both sides”. However, reports suggest that progress has now stalled. That points to the likelihood of the Government exploring alternative plans. Some observers are suggesting that PM May could have a final attempt to get her deal through the House of Commons. If that fails indications are that a series of votes would again be held to test whether any deal is able to command a majority in the House. At least one media source is suggesting that this would include a vote on some sort of customs union.
In the meantime, a number of cabinet ministers have stressed that avoiding participation in the 23rd May European Parliament elections is a priority. Nevertheless preparations for that possibility are underway. Ahead of that the local elections on 2nd May will give a feel for the political climate.
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