THERESA May is talking to Jeremy Corbyn “through gritted teeth” to hammer out a Brexit deal, Andrea Leadsom said today.
The Tories and Labour will relaunch talks this week after they collapsed over claims the Government is refusing to shift its red lines.
But the PM faces bitter attacks from her own side – as furious Brexiteers compare her to an abusive husband.
Last week, Mrs May announced she would meet Mr Corbyn to try and find a compromise deal which can make it through the House of Commons.
The talks fell apart on Friday night – but are expected to restart as soon as tomorrow.
Commons Leaders Mrs Leadsom told the BBC today: “Through gritted teeth, on this occasion we are going to have to listen carefully to what the Opposition front bench has to say.
“Working with Jeremy Corbyn is not what I want to do at all – but far worse than that would be failing to deliver on Brexit.”
She added: “We can’t be purist about it, we’re now at the point of Brexit slipping away altogether – we have to deal with what’s in front of us.”
Working with Jeremy Corbyn is not what I want to do at all
Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey, who has been on Mr Corbyn’s team in the talks, said: “We’re keeping our diaries as free as possible.
“Hopefully at the beginning of next week we will be having further discussions. So far we haven’t seen anything from Government that would suggest they are prepared to change any part of the deal going forward.”
Tory Brexiteers fear that Mrs May is on the verge of selling out her party by signing up to stay in the EU’s customs union.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan called the PM’s handling of Brexit a “national humiliation” and said MPs felt like battered wives.
She wrote in the Sunday Times: “My mother only ever gave me one piece of advice about relationships. If a man hits you, leave immediately and never go back.
“Well, right now I feel as if I am trapped in an abusive relationship.”
TALKS ‘A MISTAKE’
Jacob Rees-Mogg added to the criticism, telling Sky News: “I think having Jeremy Corbyn as part of the Brexit process is a mistake.
“What you’ve got is two Remainers trying to work out how we should leave.”
He continued: “The Prime Minister Mrs May has made active choices to stop us leaving and she deserves to be held to account for that.
“People ought to know the truth of the position, rather than trying to blame everybody else, blaming recalcitrant MPs and other Conservatives.”
In a statement last night, the PM appeared to acknowledge that her Brexit deal is dead – and blamed Tory backbenchers.
She said: “That deal was rejected three times by Parliament and there is no sign it can be passed in the near future. So I had to take a new approach.”
Mrs May vowed to find a compromise with Labour that would end open borders while protecting the economy.
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She concluded: “That is the basis for a compromise that can win a majority in Parliament and winning that majority is the only way to deliver Brexit.”
On Friday evening, Labour called an end to talks and accused the Government of refusing to compromise at all.
They want to keep Britain in the European customs union permanently – and are also pushing for a second referendum which could overturn Brexit.