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Government Brexit talks with Labour face deadline, writes Robert Peston

Theresa May could be about to set a deadline of a few days on cross-party talks. Credit: PA

Sounds as though a deadline of a few days from now will at last be set for the government’s Brexit talks with Labour - following a lively cabinet debate today.

Presumably the PM and ministers have noticed that mortgaging the UK’s Brexit future to Jeremy Corbyn is haemorrhaging the Tory vote.

Also the PM could well take the bold step of running a “definitive votes” process as soon as next week to find a cross-party consensus on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

But there is no preferred voting model for this constitutional novelty.

“Work is going on to find a voting system that works,” says a source.

Ministers are split on whether asking parliament to choose its preferred Brexit, probably based on ranking different options, is a Trojan Horse to deliver what some see as an appalling Brexit in Name Only, a disgraceful abdication of responsibility by government, an impractical and total waste of time or a longshot that is worth exploring given that all other initiatives to secure a departure from the EU have failed.

Truthfully I cannot find a minister who thinks any of this will get Brexit across the line. But equally they all say the government has to be seen to be doing something, anything.