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Fri, 29 May 2020

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The House Live All
By Andrew McQuillan
Press releases

Andrea Leadsom says there is 'no chance' Theresa May will sign up to Jeremy Corbyn's Brexit plan

Andrea Leadsom says there is 'no chance' Theresa May will sign up to Jeremy Corbyn's Brexit plan
3 min read

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom has declared there is "no chance" of Theresa May signing up to Jeremy Corbyn's soft Brexit vision.

She insisted that the Prime Minister would not adopt the Labour leader's "view of the world" amid speculation she could eventually sign up for a permanent customs union to get her Brexit deal through the Commons.

Mrs May will update MPs on the progress of her talks with the European leaders today as she races to convince Brussels to agree a string of legal changes to the controversial backstop plan to avoid a hard Irish border.

But Ms Leadsom, the Commons leader, told the Press Association that Monday's letter from the Prime Minister to Mr Corbyn - in which she did not explicitly rule out signing up to Labour's demands to break the deadlock - was not a "softening" of the Government's position.

She said: "I think she’s making quite clear that what Corbyn is demanding is actually not as good as what the Prime Minister’s deal is offering.

"So he wants a customs union and he is unclear as to whether that means he also wants an independent trade policy.

"He’s unclear as to whether he also wants to stop free movement, and of course the EU’s view would be well if you’re in the customs union then you have free movement and you abide by the common external tariff.

"I think there’s no doubt that what the Prime Minister is offering is better than what Corbyn is demanding, which simply begs the question, if they like it, why don’t they vote for it?"

And Ms Leadsom insisted there was "no chance" Mrs May could back Labour's bid to break the Commons deadlock over her Brexit deal.

"The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear we’re leaving the EU, we’re leaving the customs union, we’re leaving the single market," she told the Press Association.

"We’re taking back control, we won’t be paying money over, free movement will end, and we will have our own independent free trade policy so I definitely don’t see the Prime Minister agreeing to Corbyn’s world view."


The intervention from the leading Leave supporter comes as Mrs May prepares to plead with MPs for more time to secure changes to her Brexit agreement, which was roundly rejected in an historic Commons vote last month.

The Prime Minister is expected to tell MPs that she plans to return to the House of Commons with either a revised deal or fresh progress report by 27 February.

But Labour has promised to launch its own parliamentary bid to force the Prime Minister to hold the second so-called "meaningful vote" on her Brexit deal before the end of the month, giving MPs the chance to either accept or reject it.

Mrs May has been accused of "running down the clock" in order to present MPs with the choice of either her deal or leaving the EU without an agreement.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday night that he had held "constructive" talks over dinner with Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay.

But he reiterated that the EU side are "not going to reopen the withdrawal agreement" and said: "Something has to give on the British side."

Brussels has long argued that the Northern Ireland backstop - which Brexiteers fear could leave Britain tied to the regulatory orbit of Brussels indefinitely if it is triggered - is the only way to avoid a hard border at the Irish frontier.