There has been no "significant shift" by the government in cross-party Brexit talks, John McDonnell has said. The shadow chancellor said Labour had not seen enough movement from ministers, especially on the issue of a customs union with the EU, adding: "We're not near what we want." Cabinet discussed the state of the talks earlier, which have been going on for weeks with little sign of progress. Mr McDonnell insisted Labour had "compromised in some areas".
He also criticised a letter from 13 former Tory cabinet ministers and Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, to Theresa May, urging her not to agree a deal with Labour that includes a customs union.
Speaking at a Wall Street Journal event in London, he said "the customs union element is absolutely key to us", but the letter gave the party "no security" that any deal done would be honoured in the long-term - especially once Mrs May is replaced as Tory leader. "We've gone into this in really good faith, we've tried to put party politics to one side…" Mr McDonnell said.