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Labour launches bid to stop Theresa May 'running down the clock' towards no-deal Brexit

3 min read

Labour has unveiled a fresh bid to stop Theresa May "running down the clock" in an attempt to force MPs into backing her Brexit deal.

Jeremy Corbyn tabled an amendment to the Prime Minister's Brexit plan which would force the Government to hold a fresh meaningful vote on her deal by the end of February.

MPs will vote on Labour's attempt on Thursday and the Labour leader said: "This amendment would stop the Government from running down the clock on the Brexit negotiations, hoping Members of Parliament can be blackmailed into supporting a botched deal.

"This is an act of gross irresponsibility. The Prime Minister is playing for time and playing with people’s jobs, our economic security and the future of our industry.

"This week Parliament should set a clear deadline for the Government to come forward with its revised deal or give MPs the chance to decide what happens next."

The move came as former Labour minister Yvette Cooper teamed up with senior Conservatives to demand a new legally-binding deadline of mid-March for any agreement to ratified.

Ms Cooper, who last month launched a doomed attempt to force the Government to extend Article 50 to avoid a no-deal Brexit, has joined forces with former Conservative minister Sir Oliver Letwin to draw up a new version of her plan.

If Mrs May has not secured a deal by February 26, Ms Cooper has said she will try to force a mid-March deadline for the Prime Minister to declare whether she is backing a no-deal Brexit or an extension to Article 50.

Ms Cooper said the proposal - which has already been backed by leading Conservative Remainer Dominic Grieve, Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb and the SNP's Stewart Hosie - represented a "common sense safeguard" against the "increasing risk of drifting into No Deal by accident despite risks to security, manufacturing & medicines".

The Sun reports that senior Remain-backing Cabinet ministers Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Gauke are all preparing to swing behind the plan.

A Cabinet source told the paper: "February 27 is high noon. This is the line Amber, David and Greg are drawing in the sand, and they will make that clear closer to the time."


MPs will be given an update on the latest Brexit state of play on Thursday, with the Prime Minister urging them to "hold our nerve" and confirming that they will then be given a fresh vote on 27 February.

But Mrs May refused to rule out the possibility that she may not be able to return to the Commons with a new deal until March, as efforts to convince Brussels to agree changes to the backstop to plan to avoid an Irish hard border continue.

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