Thursday, 18 Jul 2019

Brexit PLEA: Theresa May piles the pressure on Corbyn in three page letter – ‘compromise!’

The Prime Minister wrote a three-page letter to Jeremy Corbyn as her latest proposals receive a hostile backlash from critics in her own Conservative Party. Mrs May’s deal opens up the possibility of a second referendum, while also confirming MPs would get a vote on keeping the UK in the customs union until the next General Election. In the letter to Mr Corbyn, Theresa May highlighted the tests he had set at the start of the failed process to reach a cross-party agreement, and insisted her new proposals would hold for the remainder of this Parliament – a reference to his concerns her successor could unpick a deal.

She says: “In your letter of May 17, you noted that the talks between our teams to try to find a way to resolve the Brexit deadlock had been detailed and constructive and identified some areas where compromise was possible. I agree.

“You also said that Labour will “carefully consider any proposals that the Government wishes to bring forward”.

“Today I have set out the details of a new Brexit deal that I believe should be able to command support across the House and allow us to honour the result of the referendum, putting an end to this corrosive debate that is damaging our politics and allowing us to move on to discuss all the other issues which MPs, and those we are elected to represent, care about.

“Back in February, you wrote to me setting out the changes you would like to see to the deal that the Government negotiated.

I have shown that I am willing to compromise to deliver Brexit for the British people. The WAB is our last chance to do so. I ask you to compromise too so that we can deliver what both our parties promised in our manifestos and restore faith in our politi

Theresa May

“I thought it would be useful to set out how what I outlined today measures up against those five tests.”

Leadership rivals Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab were among Tories who backed the Prime Minister’s deal in March, but have already vowed to oppose the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) when it is brought before Parliament early next month.

But rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would lie more pressure on Mrs May to quit as Prime Minister immediately, with some furious Tories calling for her to step down immediately.

Mrs May continues in the letter: ”I have shown that I am willing to compromise to deliver Brexit for the British people.

“The WAB is our last chance to do so. I ask you to compromise too so that we can deliver what both our parties promised in our manifestos and restore faith in our politics.”

But on Tuesday, Mr Corbyn warned the Prime Minister Labour won’t back a “repackaged version of the same old deal” as he launched another stinging attack on the “disintegrating Government”.

He said: “We will, of course, look seriously at the details of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill when it is published.

“But we won’t back a repackaged version of the same old deal – and it’s clear that this weak and disintegrating government is unable to deliver on its own commitments.”

Theresa May sparked anger among Tory backbenchers after yesterday offering MPs a vote on whether to hold a second referendum as part of a last-ditch attempt to get her Brexit deal through Parliament.

The Prime Minister said she would then be bound by whatever Parliament decides on this – but only if they back her Withdrawal Agreement Bill first.

Speaking from PwC’s offices in central London, Mrs May said her deal was “one last chance” for MPs to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum and take the UK out of the European Union.

In an appeal to MPs, she said that the “biggest problem with Britain today is its politics” but with the right Brexit deal “we can end this corrosive debate”.

The Prime Minister said: “Reject this deal and leaving the EU with a negotiated deal any time soon will be dead in the water.”

Leadership rivals Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab were among Tories who backed the Prime Minister’s deal in March, but have already vowed to oppose the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) when it is brought before Parliament early next month.

But rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would lie more pressure on Mrs May to quit as Prime Minister immediately, with some furious Tories calling for her to step down immediately.

Former Foreign Secretary Mr Johnson said: ”Now we are being asked to vote for a customs union and a second referendum. The Bill is directly against our manifesto – and I will not vote for it.

“We can and must do better – and deliver what the people voted for.”

Former Brexit Secretary Mr Raab said: “I cannot support legislation that would be the vehicle for a second referendum or Customs Union.

“Either option would frustrate rather than deliver Brexit – and break our clear manifesto promises.”

Mrs May’s new deal was also described as “dead on arrival” by Conservative Mark Francois, who is also vice chairman of the European Research Group (ERG).

But as well as Tory anger, Mrs May already failed to win immediate support from the DUP, which props up her Government.

DUP Parliamentary leader Nigel Dodds said: “We will examine the legislation closely when the Bill is finally published but the fundamental flaws of the draft Withdrawal Agreement treaty itself remain unchanged.

“Many of the proposals on the backstop serve as an attempt through domestic law to mitigate a bad deal, whereas the focus should be on getting a better deal.”

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