Theresa May to offer Jeremy Corbyn a Brexit deal as Tories plot to oust her


LONDON — Theresa May is preparing to offer Jeremy Corbyn a revised Brexit deal on Tuesday, in a last ditch attempt to win the Labour Party’s support and get a Withdrawal Agreement through the House of Commons before the new session of the European Parliament begins.

After weeks of cross-party talks, the government’s negotiating team is expected to present Labour with a formal offer on the key issue of Britain’s customs relationship with the EU after Brexit.

Corbyn’s party wants the United Kingdom to stay in a permanent customs union with the European Union and despite furious opposition from Conservative MPs, May is set to accept that a customs union will remain, at least until the next general election.

Reports suggest that the prime minister will offer an arrangement lasting until 2022, the year of the next scheduled general election.

However, even if such an offer was accepted by the Labour leadership, it is doubtful whether a deal with a customs union attached would even command a House of Commons majority.

Firstly because the number of Conservative MPs that the prime minister would lose from striking a “softer” Brexit deal with Corbyn could actually be greater than the number of Labour MPs she gains.

And secondly, around two-thirds of the Labour Party’s 243 MPs are believed to be unwilling to back a Brexit deal unless it is put to the British public for a new referendum.

Talks between the government and Labour are set to continue this week if there is no breakthrough on Tuesday.

Conservative Brexiteers want May to stand down

Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 committee
Reuters

Meanwhile, May’s opponents in the Conservative party are continuing their plot to force her out as party leader and prime minister as soon as possible, amid anger with her failure to deliver Brexit which is showing no signs of subsiding.

The prime minister will on Tuesday meet with Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the backbench 1922 Committee to discuss her future. Brady, along with many Conservative MPs, want May to spell out her departure plans in more detail having previously committed to remaining in Downing Street until a Brexit deal is passed.

May’s opponents want her to commit to a more specific exit, amid concern that she could stay on as leader until the Conservative party’s autumn conference in Birmingham in early-October.

Former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith over the weekend said that the party would get rid of May “now” unless she set a date for her resignation.

“We have to make a change,” he told LBC radio. “The [1922] committee has to sit again now, urgently, and decide that either the prime minister sets the immediate date for departure or, I’m afraid, [we] must do it for her.

“This is the only way — we have in a sense a caretaker prime minister at the moment. I think, therefore, that making fundamental decisions about where we go with [Brexit] would be a big mistake.”

The prime minister’s position was not helped when the Conservative party lost over 1,300 seats in local elections last week. Her party could even suffer an even bigger drubbing in European Parliament elections later this month.

The Telegraph reports that Grassroot Conservatives will on Saturday, June 15 hold an emergency no-confidence vote in May following her decisions to delay Brexit twice and seek a cross-party deal with Corbyn’s Labour.

The vote is not binding but would put huge pressure on May to resign should Conservative members vote against her.



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