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Britain's Labour signals shift on Brexit deal

AFP  |  London 

Britain's main opposition party has signalled it could back Theresa May's deal if she commits to closer future ties with the EU after leaving the bloc.

In a letter sent to May as she meets EU leaders in on Thursday, suggested her efforts to modify the deal itself to amend or remove the controversial "backstop" arrangement on the Irish border would fail.

But he said that if she secured changes to an accompanying political declaration on future ties before leaves the EU on March 29, then his party could support the agreement.

The changes include a commitment to a "permanent and comprehensive" UK-EU customs union, in which has a "say" on future EU trade deals.

May has repeatedly rejected this idea, saying a customs union would stop signing its own trade deals, one of the advantages of

also wants "close alignment" with the EU's single market, underpinned by shared institutions and obligations. Corbyn said there should also be "dynamic alignment on rights and protections", commitments to maintain Britain's participation in EU agencies and funding programmes, and continued access to security databases and the European Arrest Warrant.

"My colleagues and I look forward to discussing these proposals with you further, in the constructive manner in which they are intended, with the aim of securing a sensible agreement that can win the support of parliament and bring the country together," he wrote.

May's deal was rejected by MPs in the last month, but a majority then voted to send her back to to renegotiate the backstop.

This is an that would keep Britain aligned to EU trade rules if and until another way was found to keep open Britain's border with

Corbyn noted the EU's determination to keep the backstop, but said that a relationship along the lines he has suggested "would make it far less likely that any backstop arrangements would ever be needed".

Labour MPs who oppose Brexit responded with fury to the plan.

"Seriously? Offering to help Tory govt enable Brexit?" tweeted

"When the jobs go and revenues for services dry up as a result, Labour's leadership will have zero right to complain." Another, Chuka Umunna, added: "This is not opposition, it is the facilitation of a deal which will make this country poorer.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 07 2019. 17:45 IST