Jeremy Corbyn is to reiterate his call for the Brexit impasse to be put to the people in a general election, as Labour edged closer to pledging to call a no-confidence vote in Theresa May’s government if her departure plan is voted down in the Commons.
At a speech in Wakefield on Thursday, the Labour leader is to argue that if May is unable to get her flagship piece of legislation past MPs next week then her government will have lost all authority, meaning an election is urgently needed.
“So I say to Theresa May: if you are so confident in your deal, call that election, and let the people decide,” he will say, according to extracts from the speech released in advance.
‘If not, Labour will table a motion of no confidence in the Government at the moment we judge it to have the best chance of success.
‘Clearly, Labour does not have enough MPs in parliament to win a confidence vote on its own. So, members across the House should vote with us to break the deadlock. ‘This paralysis cannot continue. Uncertainty is putting people’s jobs and livelihoods at risk.’
Mr Corbyn said: ‘If a general election cannot be secured then we will keep all options on the table, including the option of campaigning for a public vote. ‘But an election must be the priority. It is not only the most practical option, it is also the most democratic option.
‘It could give the winning party a renewed mandate to negotiate a better deal for Britain and secure support for it in Parliament and across the country. ‘Defeat for the Government’s central policy on Tuesday would be historic. It would not only signal the failure of Theresa May’s premiership but the failure of the Conservative Party as a party of government.’
Mr Corbyn said that Labour’s Brexit plan involved ‘a new customs union with a British say in future trade deals; a strong single market relationship; and a guarantee to keep pace with EU rights and standards’. He added: ‘The alternative deal Labour has proposed is practical and achievable, and clearly has the potential to command majority support in Parliament.’
Mr Corbyn said Labour did not ‘endorse or accept’ a reported offer from the Government to adopt an amendment to protect workplace and environmental rights. Answering questions following his speech, the Labour leader said his party did not ‘endorse or accept’ a reported offer from the Government to adopt an amendment to protect workplace and environmental rights.
Asked if he agreed with shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer that it may be inevitable that the March 29 date for EU withdrawal would be delayed, Mr Corbyn said a Labour government would need ‘time’ to carry out a fresh negotiation with the EU.
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