May's government suggests it's open to compromise
Opposition Labour still waiting for changes to 'red lines'
Britain's government held out the possibility of compromise with the opposition Labour Party yesterday to try to win support in parliament for leaving the European Union with a deal, just days before the latest Brexit date.
Prime Minister Theresa May, weaker than ever after her Brexit deal was rejected by parliament three times, has been forced to turn to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after giving up on winning over eurosceptics in her Conservative Party, whose opposition has hardened.
With Britain's departure now set for April 12, May's government is running out of time to get a deal through a divided parliament, and must come up with a new plan to secure another delay from EU leaders at a summit on Wednesday.
In a last-ditch bid to get her deal through parliament, May opened talks with Corbyn last week to try to strike a deal on Britain's future ties with the EU in exchange for his support for her divorce deal, the Withdrawal Agreement.
So far those talks have failed to yield any kind of accord, with Labour policy chiefs saying the government has yet to move from its "red lines", above all over a customs union, which sets tariffs for goods imported into the EU.
May has opposed remaining in the EU's customs union saying it would mean that Britain could not secure free trade deals with other countries - a key plank to her Brexit strategy that saw her create a new government department for trade.
May, who has been verbally mauled by members of her own party for turning to Labour, herself warned Brexit-supporting lawmakers that "the longer this takes, the greater the risk of the UK never leaving at all".
"Specifically provided we are leaving the European Union then it is important that we compromise, that's what this is about and it is through gritted teeth," said Andrea Leadsom, the Brexit-supporting leader of the House of Commons (lower house of parliament).
"But nevertheless the most important thing is to actually leave the EU," she told the BBC's Andrew Marr show, adding that May's proposal for a customs arrangement after Brexit was not too far from Labour's desire for a customs union.
Germany's finance minister, Olaf Scholz, called on the two sides to find what he called "a sensible agreement to end the paralysis in British politics and to avoid a disorderly Brexit".