Jeremy Corbyn walks out of cross-party talks with Theresa May after Chuka Umunna invited

Posted On: 
20th March 2019

Jeremy Corbyn walked out of cross-party talks on Brexit with Theresa May because Chuka Umunna was invited.

Jeremy Corbyn with Chuka Umunna in 2016.
PA Images

The Labour leader had been due to meet with the Prime Minister along with the leaders of the SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens to discuss Mrs May's decision to request a three-month Brexit delay.

But he is thought to have been angered to learn that Mr Umunna, who quit Labour last month and is now spokesperson for The Independent Group, was also in attendance.

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A Labour spokesperson said: "It was not the meeting that had been agreed and the terms were broken. Downing Street is in such chaos that they were unable to manage their own proposed meeting.

"We are in discussions with Number 10 about holding the bilateral meeting with the PM that Jeremy proposed at PMQs."

Streatham MP Mr Umunna said: "I think it is really extraordinary behaviour for the leader of the opposition to behave in really this kind of very juvenile way when the moment demands that we all step up and engage in some serious dialogue to find a way through this chaos and this mess."

Lib Dem leader Vince Cable said: "Mr Corbyn chose to walk out because The Independent Group were there, which was a rather strange way to behave at a moment of national crisis."

Speaking after the meeting, Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru's leader at Westminster, called for a second referendum or the revocation of Article 50 to avert a no-deal Brexit on 29 March.

She said: "The Prime Minister is still refusing to accept reality. She remains astonishingly intransigent, and continues to try to bully MPs into a choice between her deal or no deal.

"In order to find an approach that can command the support of Parliament, the Prime Minister must accept that her strategy of a false binary option will not work.

"With the calamity of a no deal being only nine days away, she now more than ever must seek genuine compromise across the House."