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Theresa May 'wooing moderate Labour MPs' in bid to secure backing for Brexit deal

2 min read

The Government is planning to woo Labour MPs in a bid to persuade them to defy Jeremy Corbyn and back its Brexit deal, it has been reported.

According to The Guardian, Number 10 is hoping to persuade members of the opposition to vote in the "national interest" to avoid the UK leaving the EU without a deal and possibly triggering a general election which could see Mr Corbyn swept to power.

Senior Conservatives have already been in contact with moderate Labour MPs, the paper said. 

The Conservative Party’s deputy Chairman James Cleverly and the party whips are reported to have been leading the effort to court their political rivals. 

One Cabinet member is reported to have told the paper that Rachel Reeves, Chris Bryant and Lucy Powell are among MPs targeted by Mrs May. 

However, both Mr Bryant and Ms Reeves denied that they had had any discussions with the Government, and said that they would only support a deal that was closer to Labour’s position of remaining in a customs union with the EU. 

MPs from Leave-voting constituencies, such as Caroline Flint and Gareth Snell, are also believed to have been approached by the Conservatives.

A Labour source told The Guardian that the party would reject any deal that did not pass the ‘six tests’ drawn up by Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer

“Labour has been clear from the outset that if Theresa May’s Brexit deal does not meet our six tests then we will vote against it in parliament” they said. 

“The Tories are wrong to say it’s a choice between Theresa May’s deal or no deal. No deal is simply not a viable option. There is no majority in parliament to take the UK off a cliff in March 2019.”

Divisions within the Conservatives mean that the Prime Minister would likely need the support of Labour MPs to pass any Brexit deal. 

Earlier this month, former Brexit Minister Steve Baker suggested that as many as 80 Tory MPs could rebel against Theresa May’s Chequers plan if it was brought before the Commons.

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