Jeremy Corbyn: Theresa May should call a general election on her Brexit deal

Posted On: 
9th January 2019

Theresa May should call a general election to let the British public pass their verdict on her Brexit deal, Jeremy Corbyn will say today.

Jeremy Corbyn on election day 2017.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Labour leader will say a snap poll is the only way to break the Parliamentary "deadlock" as MPs prepare to vote down the agreement the Prime Minister reached with Brussels.

Mr Corbyn will claim that an election would allow the country to heal the divides caused by the EU referendum by allowing voters to focus on the issues that unite them regardless of whether they backed Leave or Remain in 2016.

"Let there be no doubt: Theresa May’s deal is a bad deal and Labour will vote against it next week in Parliament," he will say. "If the Government cannot pass its most important legislation, then there must be a general election at the earliest opportunity.

"A government that cannot get its business through the House of Commons is no government at all. So I say to Theresa May: if you are so confident in your deal, call that election, and let the people decide.

"To break the deadlock an election is not only the most practical option, it is also the most democratic option. It would give the winning party a renewed mandate to negotiate a better deal for Britain and secure support for it in Parliament and across the country."

He will add: "People across the country, whether they voted Leave or Remain, both know that the system isn’t working for them. Some see the European Union as a defence against insecurity and hostility. Others see the European Union as part of an establishment that plunged them into insecurity and hostility in the first place.

"But it’s the failed system rigged against the many to protect the interests of the few that is the real cause of inequality and insecurity, whether in Tottenham or Mansfield. And the real solution is to transform Britain to work in the interests of the vast majority, by challenging the entrenched power of a privileged elite. That is how we can help to heal the referendum’s deep divisions."

Mr Corbyn's comments come after his spokesman failed to rule out Labour pledging to overturn Brexit in any snap election manifesto.

Asked if Labour could support Remain, he said: "We are committed to respecting the result of the referendum and to the clear positions we’ve set out for an alternative plan that we believe would meet the needs of the country, respect the referendum result, protect jobs and living standards.

"Our policy in a general election would be decided in our internal party democracy. The manifesto that any Labour party stands on is always decided by the democratic procedures set out in our constitution. Our policy ever since the referendum is to try and find a deal that respects the referendum result and puts jobs and living standards first."

Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis said: "Labour simply do not have a plan for Brexit. Instead they are arguing in public about whether to frustrate the decision of the British people and rerun the referendum.

"While they play politics we will act in the national interest – delivering on the referendum decision with the right Brexit deal and building a country that works for everyone.

"After nearly two years of long and complex negotiations, Labour would take us back to square one."