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Jeremy Corbyn says he 'relishes' prospect of live TV debate with Theresa May on Brexit deal

3 min read

Labour has said Jeremy Corbyn would "relish" a TV debate with Theresa May after it emerged she is ready to go head-to-head with the opposition leader over her Brexit deal.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the Prime Minister - who shied away from TV debates in the 2017 election campaign - is gearing up to take on the Labour leader ahead of a crucial Commons vote on her agreement pencilled in for 12 December.

According to the paper, Mrs May wants a primetime Sunday night slot to take on Mr Corbyn, who has branded the agreement "a miserable failure of negotiation" and vowed that Labour will vote against it.

A Labour spokesperson said: "Jeremy would relish a head-to-head debate with Theresa May about her botched Brexit deal and the future of our country."

The debate would form part of a PR blitz triggered by Number 10 as Mrs May seeks to convince MPs to rally around her deal in the face of cross-party opposition.

The Prime Minister will take her message directly to MPs in a Commons statement as she urges MPs to get behind her or risk "more division and more uncertainty".

She will say: "Our duty as a Parliament over these coming weeks is to examine this deal in detail, to debate it respectfully, to listen to our constituents and decide what is in our national interest.

"There is a choice which MPs will have to make. We can back this deal, deliver on the vote of the referendum and move on to building a brighter future of opportunity and prosperity for all our people.

"Or this House can choose to reject this deal and go back to square one … It would open the door to more division and more uncertainty, with all the risks that will entail."

The Prime Minister will also update her Cabinet today on this weekend's historic EU summit, at which European leaders signed off on her Brexit plan and warned the UK it would not get a better offer.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Those who think by rejecting the deal that they would have a better deal will be disappointed in the first seconds after the rejection of this deal."

Mrs May faces an uphill struggle to get her agreement through Parliament in the coming weeks, with around 90 Tory MPs pledging to vote against it.

Meanwhile the DUP - who the Prime Minister relies on for her Commons majority - has made clear it will also oppose the deal.

The party's Westminster leader Nigel Dodds warned this morning that the plan "locks us into an EU straitjacket and leaves us divided and diminished".

Downing Street's hopes of getting the deal through on the support of Labour MPs willing to defy Jeremy Corbyn took another blow this weekend when Wigan MP Lisa Nandy - who had been toying with voting for the agreement - said it was "inconceivable" she would now back it.

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