UK's Philip Hammond arrives at the informal meeting of the Eurogroup gathering EU Finance ministers on Friday in Bucharest. Daniel Mihailescu /AFP
Talks between the British government and the main opposition Labour party aimed at breaking the deadlock over Brexit continue, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Saturday, adding he expected to reach “some form of agreement.”
The Labour party said on Friday talks with the government had made no progress as there was no “real change or compromise” from Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives.
But Hammond said he was optimistic about the talks.
“The conversations with the Labour party are continuing,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of European Union finance ministers in Bucharest.
“I am optimistic that we will reach some form of agreement with Labour,” he said, adding he expected the exchange of “some more texts today.”
He said the government had no red lines in the talks.
Hammond also signalled optimism about next Wednesday's EU summit on Brexit, saying most EU states agreed there was a need to delay Brexit.
May has written to Brussels asking EU leaders to postpone Britain's exit from the bloc next Friday until June 30.
The EU insists, however, she must first show a viable plan to secure agreement on her divorce deal in the deadlocked British parliament.
“Most of the colleagues that I am talking to accept we will need longer to complete this process,” Hammond told reporters in Bucharest.
“I am optimistic about the Council on Wednesday,” when EU leaders meet in Brussels to decide the next steps in the Brexit process, he said.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday it was unlikely the European Union would reach any decision on Brexit at this week’s summit in Brussels.
As the United Kingdom's three-year Brexit crisis spins towards its finale, it is still uncertain how, when or even if it will leave the European Union, though May hopes to bring her deal back to parliament later this week.
"It is with great regret that I have had to conclude that as things stand, there is still not sufficient support in the House to bring back the deal for a third meaningful vote," May told the House of Commons.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters choked Hong Kong's streets for a second straight Sunday in a defiant rebuke of a reviled extradition law, piling pressure on the city's embattled pro-Beijing leader despite a weekend climbdown.
The deaths occurred in three districts of the poor northern state, where temperatures have hovered around 45˚C in recent days, senior health official Vijay Kumar told AFP.
One of the two oil tankers crippled in attacks in the Gulf of Oman last week that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran is now anchored off the coast of the United Arab emirates with crew on board, the ship's operator said on Sunday.