Pressure on for Brexit compromise after polls debacle


LONDON: Britain’s two biggest parties said there was renewed impetus Saturday to find a compromise on Brexit after taking a battering in local elections from voters exasperated by the impasse.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s governing centre-right Conservatives had a disastrous result, losing more than a thousand seats in the English local authority polls.

But the left-wing Labour main opposition led by Jeremy Corbyn failed to capitalise, and even managed to lose seats.

Instead, two pro-EU parties profited: the centrist, Liberal Democrats were up 676 and the left-wing Greens added 185. Independents meanwhile gained 242.

Yet, in a sign of the frustration among pro-Brexit supporters, many voters boasted on social media of how they spoiled their ballots, writing “Brexit betrayal” and “traitors” on their voting slips.

The Conservatives and Labour are in prolonged talks on finding a compromise to break the Brexit deadlock after MPs failed to agree on a divorce deal with the European Union.

“We can look at those local election results as a punishment for both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party for failing to find a way through,” Justice Secretary David Gauke told BBC television.

Corbyn told ITV there was clearly a “huge impetus… that an arrangement has to be made, a deal has to be done; parliament has to resolve this issue”.

With the divorce deal hanging in the balance, Britain’s exit date from the EU has been pushed back twice from the original March 29 to October 31.

Britain’s voted in June 2016 in favour of leaving the bloc.