Deeply divided, Britain's Labour fails to challenge May on Brexit

Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:46am EDT
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* Divisions in Labour mean no challenge for May on Brexit

* Brexit was not on agenda at Liverpool Labour conference

* Fears Conservatives could lurch right with muted opposition

By Elizabeth Piper

LIVERPOOL, England, Sept 27 (Reuters) - With the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader unlikely to heal deep rifts in Britain's Labour, the only significant opposition that Prime Minister Theresa May looks likely to face as she plots Britain's divorce from the EU is from her own party.

Britain's exit from the bloc, or Brexit, did not even make it onto the official agenda of the Labour party's conference in Liverpool, where lawmakers were more concerned with whether Labour will survive in the future.

For May, who campaigned quietly for Britain to stay in the European Union before the June referendum, it means she will be able to drive the talks without much interference from the Labour opposition.

But she may face a stronger challenge from those in her Conservative Party who are pressing for a hard Brexit, or a clean break with the EU and its single market.

Seema Malhotra, a former Labour treasury spokeswoman, told an event at the conference that she feared Labour had all but handed control to the Conservatives on Brexit.   Continued...