Knives out for May: Corbyn and Sturgeon JOIN FORCES in plot to derail draft Brexit deal

Knives out for May: Corbyn and Sturgeon JOIN FORCES in plot to derail draft Brexit deal

Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon team up in bid to block draft Brexit deal

May said that if her deal was voted down, there would be more uncertainty or it could risk no Brexit at all.

Corbyn asked if last weeks withdrawal text was the final one. May said the Brexit package was made up of two parts: the withdrawal agreement had been agreed in principle, but there was also the future relationship document. The whole lot would be discussed by the EU on Sunday.

The party has some clear differences with Labour on Brexit, particularly over free movement, as well as the Lib Dems, who have been pushing for a second referendum. Sturgeon said they may not end up on the same page but weve got to look ahead now … and I feel a responsibility to have a go on that. The important thing now is that we focus on where we think we can build majorities.

Brexit latest: Fresh heat on Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May for Peoples Vote on final deal

Corbyn said the Brexit secretary was not going to Brussels. Was the post now just ceremonial? He also asked how much it would cost the UK to prolong the transition.

Prime Ministers Questions: The key bits and the verdict

May said they were talking about the Irish backstop. She said she wanted to avoid a hard border by getting the future relationship in place. There might be a backstop, or there might be an extension of the implementation period. But there could also be alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border.

Sturgeon also hinted that the SNP, which has 35 MPs, could back a second referendum. The option that would stop Brexit is another vote and Labours official position is not for that at the moment, but hopefully, over the course of the next few weeks as these discussions develop, well see movement on all sorts of positions.

May defends Brexit deal against cross-party hostility at PMQs

Corbyn said the UK would have to pay. The Canada deal took seven years, the Singapore deal eight years. Did May think she was fooling anyone when she said a final relationship would be decided by December 2020?

Boles, who believes his plan would come into play once all other options had been voted down by the Commons, told the Guardian: Ive had conversations with opposition MPs. Theyve been clear that its something they could imagine becoming a point of discussion, but not if its explicitly temporary.

May said the problem Corbyn had with this deal was that he had not even read it. He was opposed to any deal, no matter how good it was. But he would accept any EU deal, however bad. And he would use the transition period to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement. He had said there might be a referendum, but he did not even know what the question was.

Corbyn said Mays government had got Britain into this mess. May knew full well that, with a European parliament not in place until the summer, there was less than a year for the negotiations for a future trade deal. May had said no PM would agree a customs border down the Irish Sea, but the backstop would create that.

May wins battle of the pub bores by avoiding known unknowns

May said Corbyn was wrong. The EU had given way on a Northern Ireland-only backstop. She said it was clear Corbyn did not know the agreement. Never mind a second referendum; Corbyn didnt have a first clue.

The Labour MP said: I believe that theres no way Labour can force a general election, much as we and the country might like one, and so the only way to stop Brexit and bring Britain back from the brink is to fight for a peoples vote.”

Corbyn said there was an entire protocol referring just to Northern Ireland. May had not discussed this with the DUP. He said the deal failed Mays red lines and Labours six tests. And it failed to impress the new Northern Ireland minister, who said the deal was dead. Wasnt it the case that parliament would reject the deal? If May couldnt get it through, she should make way, he said.

At that stage, we will be saying give us the opportunity. Youre a minority party, give us the opportunity to take over and see if we can form a government, a minority but with a majority position in parliament, he said.

Jeremy Corbyns half-baked questions fail to trouble PM even in the middle of Brexit crisis

May said the public had given her an instruction, and Corbyn wanted to play party politics. He was opposing a deal he hadnt read, promising a deal he could not negotiate, and telling leave voters one thing and remain voters another. Whatever Corbyn said, she would act in the national interest.

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That was Mays best PMQs exchange with Corbyn for quite some time. In recent weeks he has frequently had her on the back foot on this topic, but this time she got the better of the Labour leader relatively easily.

But Shadow Culture Minister Mr Reed said Labour must instead leap to pressing for a second referendum, which he said should include giving the option for voters to reverse the decision to leave in 2016.

Corbyn had good points to make about the cost of extending the transition, and the time allowed for the trade negotiation only being about a year, but he tripped up with his fifth question when he muddled up a customs border down the Irish Sea (which is not in the withdrawal agreement) with a regulatory border (which is). It was a fairly basic mistake, obvious to anyone with only GCSE-level Brexitology, and all the more surprising because this issue has dominated Brexit news coverage in recent weeks. May couldnt believe her luck.

Corbyn did start promisingly, exploiting comments made by Amber Rudd earlier in the day to ask whether a no-deal Brexit was now off the table. But Mays reversion to her default automaton speak blindsided him. As it does almost every week. So instead of putting the prime minister under pressure by asking how she intended to govern on a day-to-day basis with no majority, how she proposed to get her Brexit deal through parliament when roughly 75 of her own MPs had said they would vote against it, and whether she stood by her EU nationals jumping the queue remarks – questions that were on the minds of most people in the country – he opted to expose his ignorance of the withdrawal agreement by muddling up a customs border and a regulatory border. Not to mention his own coherent Brexit plan.

The complaint that Corbyn hadnt read the 560-page text in full was a cheap and shallow one (no sensible person in his position would), but his customs error meant that when May made this point repeatedly, it had some force. Her summary of the charge against Labours stance on Brexit in response to the final answer was particularly crisp (which is not to say the case against her Brexit stance is much more damning), but she also got through the session because she actually made news. In her response to Corbyns first question, she specifically rejected what Amber Rudd had said on BBC Radio 4s Today programme earlier, and revived her claim that voting against her deal could lead to the UK staying in the EU.

Even without any pressure from the ERG, the government was still under no illusions that it was in government. That much had been clear ever since the DUP had ripped up its confidence-and-supply agreement with the Conservatives after it emerged that Mays Brexit withdrawal agreement in effect treated Northern Ireland differently to the rest of the UK. In several votes on the budget, the Conservatives have been forced to accept Labour and SNP amendments to avoid defeat. Indeed, the government would even have lost a vote had Corbyn and a few other Labour MPs remembered to turn up to the Commons. Easy mistake to make.

Video: Andrew Rosindell: May, cut away EUs tentacles

The new Brexit secretary is another non-travelling Brexit secretary and is apparently not going with her. I wonder if the post is now an entirely ceremonial one.

Lets look at the chief suspects. For several years it has felt as if the European Research Group was in charge, steering Theresa May to an ever harder, more damaging Brexit. Now, though, the unpleasants revolt appears – for the time being at least – to be a busted flush. Their attempts to force a vote of no confidence in the prime minister collapsed when they were unable to count to 48, and Tuesdays Global Britain end-of-the-pier show starring seven elderly white men singing Vera Lynn songs was a personal humiliation for Jacob Rees-Mogg and David Davis.

Video: Corbyn hits out at the new Brexit Secretary at PMQs

All he wants to do is to play politics. He is opposing a deal he hasnt read, he is promising a deal he cant negotiate, he is telling leave voters one thing and remain voters another. Whatever [he] might do, I will act in the national interest.

Video: Corbyn hits out at the new Brexit Secretary at PMQs

The Labour leader, in return, condemned the Brexit plan as a failure, a sentiment backed up by questions not just from other opposition parties MPs, but several Conservatives.

Read more The first question saw Andrew Rosindell, a long-time Tory critic of May, urge the prime minister to rethink the draft plan, saying his Romford constituents were deeply unhappy with a deal which they believe does not represent the Brexit they voted for.

To be clear, this deal does not involve a customs border in the Irish Sea. There will be additional regulatory checks for some goods coming to Northern Ireland from Britain. There will be none going from Northern Ireland to Britain. This hardly constitutes a ‘border in the Irish Sea’. The business community in Northern Ireland agree that this deal protects them.

Later in the session the Conservative MP Neil Parish said he liked some elements of the proposal, but it is not good enough as it stands.

What has provoked the ire of many Brexiteers is that, if it is used, the backstop will see the UK as a whole in a bare bones customs union with the EU. May has insisted on this so as to avoid the need for customs checks on the Irish border or within the UK.

Video: May: Corbyn hasnt even read Brexit Agreement

Corbyns Brexit stance bizarre, says Labours Northern Ireland ally

In Corbyns first question he referenced comments by ministers such as the new work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, who predicted on Wednesday that MPs would stop a no-deal Brexit even if they voted down Mays plan.

Further addressing unionist concerns is the fact that the Protocol now not only seeks to avoid a hard land border between Northern Ireland and Ireland but also any hardening of the one between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Video: May: Corbyn hasnt even read Brexit Agreement

Now that a number of government ministers have confirmed this morning that leaving the EU with no deal is not an option, does the prime minister agree there are no circumstances under which Britain would leave with no deal? he asked.

May disputed this, saying her plan was the only sensible option: If you look at the alternative to having that deal with the European Union, it will either be more uncertainty or division, or it could risk no Brexit at all.

Corbyn later mocked Mays decision to go to Brussels later on Wednesday without her new Brexit secretary, Steve Barclay, calling him another non-travelling Brexit secretary. He added: I wonder if the post is now an entirely ceremonial one.

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He criticised May over the idea of extending the transition period if a permanent deal was not completed by the end of 2020, which would require British payments to the European Union. The prime ministers idea of taking back control of our money is to hand the EU a blank cheque.

May responded by rounding on Corbyn and his comment at the weekend that he had not read all of the 580-page deal.

Read more He says theres a problem with the deal and he would do it differently. He wants to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement but, as I say, he hasnt read it, she said. He wants to oppose any deal no matter how good it is for the UK. He will accept any European Union deal no matter how bad it is for the UK.

He wants to use the implementation period that he would vote against to renegotiate the treaty that delivers the implementation period. And hes said another referendum isnt an issue for today, but it could be an issue for tomorrow. He doesnt know how hed vote, he doesnt know when it would be, he doesnt even know what the question would be.

Corbyn said it was necessary to keep options open because of the shambles this government has got into.

This deal is a failure. It fails the prime ministers red lines, fails Labours six tests, and failed to impress the new Northern Ireland minister who, just hours before he was appointed, said: The deal is dead.

Labours childish antics over Brexit are an embarrassment

Instead of giving confidence to the millions of people who voted both leave and remain, this half-baked deal fails to give any hope that can bring the country together again.

Labour frontbencher breaks ranks and calls for a second referendum

He said May should step down if she was unable to get a deal through parliament and make way for those who can and will.

May replied: The right honourable gentleman is playing party politics. Hes opposing a deal he hasnt read, hes promising a deal he cant negotiate, hes telling leave voters one thing and remain voters another. Whatever the right honourable gentleman might do, I will act in the national interest.

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