Jeremy Corbyn ally warns MPs not to accept Theresa May's 'desperate' offer of cash for Brexit votes

Posted On: 
2nd February 2019

A key ally of Jeremy Corbyn has warned Labour MPs not to accept Theresa May's "divide and rule" offer of investment in their constituencies if they back her Brexit deal.

Labour chairman Ian Lavery said the Conservatives had presided over 'decades of neglect'.

It emerged this week Number 10 could offer a cash boost for Leave-backing seats in exchange for their MPs voting through the Prime Minister's beleaguered EU agreement.

But Labour chairman Ian Lavery warned the party's parliamentary troops not to accept the "ploy" from Downing Street.

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"Theresa May’s desperate attempt to breathe life back into her dead duck of a Brexit deal with investment bungs for MPs in industrial communities should be treated with the contempt it deserves," he said in a piece for the LabourList website.

Taking direct aim at Downing Street, Mr Lavery said the Conservatives had "actively championed the destruction" of industrial towns, and said communities would "rightly be repulsed by her actions".

"The sheer arrogance of a Tory Prime Minister who presides over this appalling situation now thinking that after decades of neglect she can turn on the funding tap and everything will be fine is quite frankly astonishing," he said.

And he warned: "If the Prime Minister wants to talk about ending austerity and protecting rights as we leave the EU, she should do so with the leader of the Labour Party and his team. 

"Any Labour MP seriously considering discussions with the PM should remember her record and that of her party going back generations."


The warning from Labour's chairman came as Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell vowed that Labour would turn on the spending taps to invest in Brexit-supporting cities if it wins the next election.

In a speech in Stoke-on-Trent, which noted most heavily for Brexit in 2016, the frontbencher will say: "The Tories have subjected our communities to a near decade of brutal austerity, with long-term industrial neglect and a dramatic surge in poverty taking place on their watch.

"Only Labour in government can deliver a prosperous, thriving and fair economy."

A spokesman for the Prime Minister this week said he "absolutely wouldn’t characterise" the reported investment offer as cash for votes.

He added: "The Prime Minister has a long-standing commitment to tackling inequalities between communities.

"We are determined to lead a programme of national renewal post-Brexit by rebuilding and reconnecting communities, driving prosperity and unleashing the potential and creativity of hard-working people in every part of our country."