Jeremy Corbyn agrees to meet Theresa May after Labour rebels defy him to help kill off Brexit delay

Posted On: 
30th January 2019

Jeremy Corbyn has dropped his opposition to face-to-face talks with Theresa May after Labour rebels defied him to help to kill off a bid to delay Brexit.

The shift came as MPs backed an amendment reject a no-deal Brexit.

The Labour Leader had declined to meet Mrs May for talks on a Brexit plan unless she took the prospect of no-deal off the table.

MPs last night rejected a bid by Labour's Yvette Cooper to demand an extension of Article 50, a move that could have postponed a no-deal outcome for months, by 321 votes to 298.

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That was partly down to the fact that 14 Labour MPs broke their party whip to vote with the Government.

In addition, two members of Mr Corbyn's own frontbench - shadow justice minister Gloria De Piero and shadow housing minister Melanie Onn - defied party orders and abstained.

But Mr Corbyn pointed to MPs' support for a separate, non-binding amendment "rejecting" a no-deal Brexit as he confirmed he was now open to talks with the Prime Minister.

"Tonight Parliament has voted to remove the immediate threat of crashing out without a deal on 29 March," he said.

"After months of refusing to take the chaos of no deal off the table, the Prime Minister must now face the reality that no deal is not an option.

"I will meet the Prime Minister and others from across Parliament to find a sensible Brexit solution that works for the whole country.

"That solution should be based around Labour’s alternative plan of a customs union with a UK say, a strong single market relationship and a cast-iron guarantee on workers’ rights, consumer standards and environmental protections."

Speaking in the wake of the votes, Mrs May said the House had "reconfirmed its view that it does not want to leave the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement and Future Framework".

"However, simply opposing no deal is not enough to stop it," she added.

"The Government will now redouble its efforts to get a deal that this House can support and to that end I want to invite my Right Honourable Friend the Member for Meriden, the Honourable Member for Birmingham Erdington, and all those that tabled amendments in opposition to No Deal to discuss how we can deliver that by securing a deal.

"In light of the defeat of the Right Honourable Member the Leader of the Opposition’s amendment I again invite him to take up my offer of the meeting to see if we can find a way forward."