Theresa May appeals to union chiefs in desperate bid to win Brexit deal support

Posted On: 
11th January 2019

Theresa May has appealed to the leaders of Britain’s most powerful unions in a last-ditch bid to win support for her Brexit deal.

Unite boss Len McCluskey was said to be open to a deal with the Prime Minister during a phone call on Brexit
Credit: 
PA

In phone conversations yesterday, the Prime Minister spoke to Unite chief Len McCluskey and GMB boss Tim Roache about whether new workers’ rights guarantees could shift their Brexit stance.

A Downing Street spokesman described the exchanges as “constructive” but Mr Roache later rejected any compromise and reiterated his support for a second referendum.

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On Twitter, he declared: “After nearly 3 yrs, glad PM finally picked up the phone. I was crystal clear about GMB’s position - her deal is a bad deal and flaky assurances on workers' rights won’t cut it…

“What’s clear now is more time is required. We need to extend Article 50 and ultimately it is the public who must have the final say on Brexit”.

Unite didn’t comment publicly, but a source told the Times: “Len’s a dealmaker. He would have approached the call with an open mind.”

It emerged yesterday that the Government is preparing to accept an amendment strenghtening workers' rights and environmental protections in the name of Labour MPs from constituencies which voted to Leave.

In a boost for the Prime Minister, Tory MPs Trudy Harrison and Sir Edwards Leigh announced that they had ditched their opposition to her deal and would vote for it next Tuesday.

But according to a BBC forecast, Mrs May’s deal will still be rejected by a whopping 228 votes - the biggest government defeat in modern British political history.