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Blow for Theresa May as wavering Labour MP confirms she will vote against Brexit deal

3 min read

Theresa May's hopes of getting her Brexit deal through Parliament suffered yet another blow as a Labour MP open to backing the agreement said it was now "inconceivable" she would vote for it.

Lisa Nandy, who had previously urged her colleagues to keep an "open mind" about the agreement, tore into the Government's attempts to sell the deal to MPs, saying she had not had "a single phone call" from the Conservatives to try and win her around.

She later confirmed to PoliticsHome that she will vote against the deal when it comes to Parliament next month.

Mrs May is facing an uphill struggle to get the Commons to back her Brexit deal, with scores of her own MPs vowing to vote against it, while DUP leader Arlene Foster said there were "no circumstances" in which her 10 MPs would support it.

The backlash has raised the prospect of the Prime Minister trying to get the deal through by convincing Labour MPs to defy Jeremy Corbyn, who also opposes it, and back her.

Appearing on Sky News's Ridge on Sunday, Ms Nandy was asked if the deal was something she could support.

She replied: "I'd hoped that it would be, but in all honesty, no it's not. And it's inconceivable now that when this comes before Parliament in just a few day's time that I'll be voting for it. I won't be voting to support the Withdrawal Agreement."

The Wigan MP took aim at the 26-page Brexit Political Declaration signed by Theresa May and the EU late last week.

The document sets out aspirations for Britain's future ties with the EU.

Ms Nandy - whose constituency voted strongly in favour of quitting the EU at the 2016 referendum - warned that the deal left open the prospect of slashing protections for workers' rights after Brexit.

She said: "The problem that's facing someone like me sitting here in Wigan is that I don't know at all from that 26-page declaration whether the future of the UK looks like one that is very closely allied to the EU with all of the standards at work and protections that come with it or whether we're going down a low-tax, low-wage economy that will remove all of those rights at work that my constituents rely on."

Ms Nandy accused the Government of providing "26 pages of virtually nothing about what the future holds" and claimed: "There's been no attempt to reach out to Labour MPs like me.

"I haven't had a single phone call from the other side as well as very attempt to talk to the frontbencher or to the trade unions either. And it's just too big a gamble for MPs like me to take with our constituents' futures."

The move heaps further pressure on Mrs May as attention shifts the House of Commons vote on the deal after EU leaders gave the thumbs-up to the agreement at a summit in Brussels.

Ms Nandy has previously suggested she could vote to support the Prime Minister in the Commons, telling Prospect magazine: "I wouldn’t ever vote for a deal that was bad for my constituents, but conversely I’ve got a duty to consider what the PM comes back with, whether it is in their interests and the interests of the country as a whole."

She had described plans for a UK-wide customs partnership with the EU as "a big part of the jigsaw" that would "break down one considerable barrier to me choosing to reject that deal".

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