Theresa May calls on Jeremy Corbyn to ‘do a deal’ with her on Brexit after local election drubbing

Posted On: 
5th May 2019

Theresa May has issued a fresh call for Jeremy Corbyn to “put their differences aside” and help ministers deliver a Brexit deal after both sides suffered losses at the local elections.

Theresa May during a speech to local party members in Grimsby, following the voting in the English council elections
Credit: 
PA Images

The Prime Minister has been locked in negotiations with the Labour leader since early April in a bid to find a breakthrough, having failed to pass her agreement through the Commons on three occasions.

In a last ditch plea she wrote in the Mail on Sunday that the Tories and Labour should "listen to what voters said" in Thursday's votes - with reports suggesting she is ready to offer a “temporary customs agreement” to win opposition backing.

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The Tories suffered their worst performance in nearly 25 years, losing 1,334 councillors and control of more than 40 local authorities in England.

Labour meanwhile lost 82 councillors as well as local authorities in key party heartlands, with the Lib Dems and Greens the main beneficiaries of the evening, gaining more than 700 and 200 seats respectively.

The Sunday Times says Mrs May is prepared to offer a “comprehensive but temporary customs arrangement” with the EU that would last until the next general election.

She will also cave to Mr Corbyn’s demand for closer ties between Britain and the bloc on a wider range of EU single market regulations on goods and enshrine in law that the UK will mirror all legislation on workers’ rights, it is claimed.

“There are three main areas: customs, goods alignment and workers’ rights,” one source involved in the talks told the paper. “The Conservative Party will have to suck up concessions on each of those.”

Mrs May meanwhile said the elections gave "fresh urgency" to find a way to "break the deadlock", ahead of talks between both sides resuming on Tuesday.

She added that a "unified, cross-party position" with Labour was possible, despite admitting that "frankly, it is not what I wanted, either".

'LET'S DO A DEAL'

Mrs May said: “This deal will be a stepping stone to a brighter future, outside the EU, where the UK can determine the road ahead. This is because no parliament can bind its successor.”

She added: “To the Leader of the Opposition, I say this: let’s listen to what the voters said in the local elections and put our differences aside for a moment. Let’s do a deal.”

Mr Corbyn meanwhile is facing further pressure to put any deal agreed to a second referendum, with more than 100 MPs from Labour, the SNP, the Lib Dems and Change UK insisting they will not accept a “Westminster stitch-up”.

In a letter, seen by The Observer, they say: “The very worst thing we could do at this time is a Westminster stitch-up whether over the PM’s deal or another deal.

"This risks alienating both those who voted leave in 2016 and those who voted remain.” They say that, “whatever the deal” is, it must be the subject of another referendum so voters can have the “final say”.