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Lidington says Brexit talks with Labour to continue, will not last months

Prime Minister Theresa May holds a news conference after the European Council in Brussels where European Union leaders met to discuss Brexit

He added that discussions couldn't be allowed to "drag on" for an extended period but continued to defend the prime minister's position.

May has so far been unable to get the exit package she agreed a year ago with the European Union approved by the British parliament, meaning Brexit day has been pushed back to avoid leaving without a deal. But, the timetable for doing so is very tight.

These talks have been going on since April 3 and are expected to continue this week even though parliament is now not sitting.

Without any consensus in parliament, reflective of a deeply divided population, all outcomes remain possible in the coming weeks and months: leaving the European Union with a deal, a disorderly exit without a deal, or another vote on whether to leave at all. Details of this process are yet to be announced.

Elections to local and regional government take place in certain parts of the country.

The Conservatives are set to lose out in local elections due on May 2nd, with one polling expert, Lord Hayward, saying the party faced a "Brexit penalty".

Labour would increase its number of MPs by 34, making them the largest party in the British parliament.

Leading British eurosceptic Nigel Farage has launched a new political party with a promise of a "democratic revolution" in United Kingdom politics, beginning with the European Parliament elections in May.

To do that she will need to win a vote in parliament approving a Brexit deal and pass the necessary legislation to implement it.

May has come under fire from MPs including former leader Iain Duncan Smith following her decision to agree an extension that would result in the United Kingdom taking part in European elections next month.

Corbyn could then lead a government propped up by the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) which is also expected to make gains in a general election.

Labour is pushing for a deal that keeps Britain allied to the EU's customs union and single market, but the current deal agreed by May would see Britain leaving both.

Steve Murrells, chief executive of retailer Co-op group, told the BBC the government had "kicked the can down the road" on Brexit, but that his firm would continue to plan for the worst-case scenario of leaving without a deal.