Theresa May begs Jeremy Corbyn to back her Brexit deal as Tory opposition grows

Posted On: 
22nd May 2019

Theresa May has called on Jeremy Corbyn to "compromise" and back her Brexit bill despite widespread criticism of her plans from MPs across the Commons.

Jeremy Corbyn has already hit out at the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
Credit: 
PA

The Prime Mnister has written to the Labour leader insisting the Government has made significant concessions in an effort to meet his demands.

Mrs May made her plea in a three-page letter as Tory leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab vowed to vote against her revised plan.

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Despite six weeks of negotiations between Labour and the Government collapsing without a deal, the PM said the Withdrawal Agreement Bill - which MPs are due to vote on next month - contains measures aimed at ensuring workers' rights and environmental protections, as demanded by Mr Corbyn.

She said the Government had also shifted on customs arrangements and single market access, and would also give MPs a vote on whether to hold a second referendum.

"I have shown that I am willing to compromise to deliver Brexit for the British people," Mrs May said. "I ask you to compromise too so that we can deliver what both our parties promised in our manifestos and restore faith in our politics."

Speaking in the wake of Mrs May's speech setting out her new-look Brexit deal, Mr Corbyn said: "We will of course look seriously at the details of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill when it is published.

"But we won't back a repackaged version of the same old deal - and it’s clear that this weak and disintegrating government is unable deliver on its own commitments."

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson and Mr Raab joined furious Conservative MPs in denouncing Mrs May's latest attempt to win support from across the Commons with a string of changes to her EU deal.

Mr Raab, the former Brexit Secretary, said: “I cannot support legislation that would be the vehicle for a second referendum or customs union.”

And Mr Johnson, the ex-foreign secretary who switched to backing the PM's deal at the last vote in March, said the revised plan was “directly against our manifesto” as he warned: "We can and must do better — and deliver what the people voted for."

 

The Prime Minister is set to spell out her plans in Parliament later on Wednesday amid mounting anger from her own MPs at her latest proposals.

In a bid to woo Tory eurosceptics, the WAB will also contain a vow to put the Government under a legal obligation to find "alternative arrangements" to the controversial Irish backstop before the end of 2020.

But David Jones, the former Brexit minister, told the Telegraph: “I have been an MP for 14 years and I have never seen such anger among colleagues. She is desperate, she is deluded and she is doomed.”

'IMMEDIATE VOTE'

Some senior Conservative MPs are meanwhile dusting off plans to change the party's rules in a bid to trigger a fresh vote of confidence in the embattled Prime Minister.

The 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers will meet on Wednesday afternoon amid calls for the party to change its rules and accelerate a new ballot in Mrs May, who currently cannot be challenged until December after seeing off a bid late last year.

An attempt to reduce the minimum time for a fresh challenge was defeated 9-7 at a meeting of the 1922's executive last month.

Executive member Nigel Evans confirmed reports that party bosses would again call for the rule change, telling The Sun on Tuesday night: "She has U-turned on absolutely everything. We cannot put up with this any longer.

"I will be asking my colleagues tomorrow to agree to a rule change so we can hold an immediate confidence vote if Theresa is not prepared to stand down now."

Fellow 1922 executive member Sir Bernard Jenkin said that while there was "a lot of affection and respect for Mrs May in the party" there was now "a lot of anger at the mistakes that she has made".

And he told BBC Newnsight that the process for a leadership election could now be "accelerated" in response.