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The Latest: Corbyn: Labour party would stop ‘no-deal’ Brexit

November 19, 2018
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Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the CBI annual conference at InterContinental Hotel in London, Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Brexit negotiations (all times local):

6 p.m.

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn says his party will try to stop Britain leaving the European Union without an agreement if Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal is rejected by Parliament.

Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, said in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry that “neither the Cabinet nor Parliament would endorse such an extreme and frankly dangerous course.”

He said “Labour will not countenance a no-deal Brexit,” which could cause upheaval for businesses and people.

But it is unclear what would happen if Parliament rejected the deal when it is put to a vote, likely next month.

Corbyn said the proposed agreement is “a botched, worst-of-all-worlds deal which is bad for Britain.”

Labour is calling for Britain to stay in a customs union with the EU and to have a “strong” relationship with the bloc’s single market. Critics say that’s a vague and unachievable goal.

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1:15 p.m.

The head of the biggest group in the European Parliament says there will be no renegotiation of the draft Brexit deal that is drawing widespread criticism in Britain.

Manfred Weber, who leads the center-right European People’s Party in the EU legislature, told reporters in Berlin that its initial assessment of the deal is “very encouraging, very positive.” The European Parliament must approve an agreement.

Weber said that Brexit advocates’ “empty promises” couldn’t be kept.

He added: “It must be clear to our British partners that there will be no renegotiation of this text that is now on the table. The text has been negotiated, and it is the basis for the talks of the coming weeks, and our British colleagues must now consider whether it is sufficient to approve — but there will be no renegotiation.”

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11:35 a.m.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says the 27 EU nations fully back the Brexit withdrawal agreement, which has come under vehement criticism in Britain.

After a meeting with EU ministers, Barnier said that “the ministers support the overall package” of 585 pages that make up the agreement and the principle of a one-off extension of the transition period which is supposed to be limited to the end of 2020 at this stage.

Barnier did not want to put a specific date on the period, though.

The EU nations and Britain are still negotiating the outline text of a future relationship which should be ready in the coming weeks.

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9:15 a.m.

A senior German official says Britain and the European Union should “stick to what we have now” in the Brexit negotiations amid calls in London for the draft deal to be revisited.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Germany’s ZDF television Monday that the EU has accommodated Britain on many points.

Altmaier said: “I am sure that if one side undoes this package, other sides also will probably try to undo it.” He added that “it won’t be easier if people try now to renegotiate a lot of things — we should stand by what was achieved laboriously in more than a year.”

Altmaier said the withdrawal agreement is fair to both sides.

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8:45 a.m.

Luxembourg’s foreign minister says there is “no better” Brexit deal for Britain than the one that was finalized last week.

Jean Asselborn spoke as European Union foreign ministers gathered in Brussels Monday against the backdrop of a political crisis in Britain, where Prime Minister Theresa May is defending her draft deal against widespread criticism.

Asselborn said May “deserves praise” for her position, saying the maxim “no deal is better than a bad deal” has been dropped in favor of “any deal is better than no deal.” He added: “We must make it understood today that this deal which is now on the table is the best one possible. There is no better one for this crazy Brexit.”

He added that, on the difficult question of Northern Ireland, “there is no better solution.”

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8:40 a.m.

Austria’s minister for Europe says the Brexit deal on the table is “the best possible compromise” and he doesn’t expect any delay in Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Last week’s announcement of a draft divorce agreement triggered a political crisis in Britain, with calls for the hard-won deal to be renegotiated.

Austria’s EU affairs minister, Gernot Bluemel, said in Brussels that he hopes for the deal as it stands to be approved. He said that “a painful week in European politics is starting. We have the divorce papers on the table, 45 years of difficult marriage are coming to an end.” Austria holds the rotating EU presidency.

Bluemel said: “Of course I hope that all stand by what has been negotiated.” Asked if Britain’s departure could be delayed, he said: “I assume that the withdrawal date stands.”

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8:30 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is aiming to win business support for her Brexit deal with the European Union, but remains on a collision course with a group of lawmakers seeking to unseat her.

In a speech Monday to the Confederation of British Industry, May plans to say that the deal “fulfils the wishes of the British people as expressed in the 2016 referendum” to leave the EU.

May’s office says she will dismiss the idea from some of her opponents that Britain can renegotiate, saying “the withdrawal agreement has been agreed in full.”

The deal sealed last week between Britain and the EU is opposed by some pro-Brexit lawmakers in May’s Conservative Party. Rebels are trying to gather the 48 lawmakers they need to trigger a no-confidence vote.

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