Business Standard

UK PM May and Labour leader Corbyn clash ahead of key meeting on Brexit


Press Trust of India London
British Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday warmed up for their long-awaited meeting to discuss the way ahead on the UK's divorce deal with the European Union by clashing in the House of Commons.
At Prime Minister's Questions, Corbyn repeatedly urged May to rule out a no-deal Brexit and to ditch her "red lines" in any upcoming talks with Brussels.
May hit back by saying that Corbyn "has no plan for Brexit".
The two leaders will meet privately later to seek common ground on Brexit, less than two months before the UK's formal divorce from the 28-member trading bloc.
Corbyn agreed to the meeting because MPs voted against the idea of a no-deal Brexit on Tuesday. He had previously ruled out such a meeting unless May ruled out a no-deal Brexit herself.
At the Prime Minister's Questions, he said May may have succeeded in "temporarily uniting her very divided party" in Tuesday's votes on amendments to her plan but she had to make "more important compromises" to "unite the country".
May said Corbyn was a "fine one to talk about coming together", when he had only now agreed to meet her, after MPs took part in a series of votes on possible changes to her Brexit plan.
She said the majority of MPs had identified the Irish backstop as the main sticking point preventing them from backing her deal, whereas Corbyn's Brexit proposals had been rejected.
"He has no plan for Brexit, no good plan for our economy and no plan for our country," she told MPs.
Lawmakers voted 317 to 301 in favour of changing the backstop plan - the section of May's deal with the EU designed to avoid the return of Northern Ireland border checks.
Corbyn asked May whether, if she did not agree a deal with Brussels that MPs would support, she would back Labour's proposals for a "a strong single market, comprehensive customs union and the guaranteeing of rights and protections rather than the alternative she has been threatening - to crash out with no-deal".
Prime Minister May told him: "You cannot just vote to reject no deal, you have to support a deal."

It was a message she repeated to Labour MP Jack Dromey, who together with Tory MP Caroline Spelman, got MPs to back a non-binding amendment rejecting a no-deal Brexit on Tuesday.
May said she will speak to Irish premier Leo Varadkar later on Wednesday.
"It is important for us to work with the Irish government on the arrangements that will be in place in the future," she added.
Both the UK and EU have to meet their commitments to avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland, she told MPs.
Currently, the UK is due to leave the European Union on March 29, with or without a deal.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: Jan 30 2019 | 8:20 PM IST

Explore News