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THERESA MAY accepting two Brexit extensions in the space of a fortnight represents a “diplomatic failure” and “entire mishandling” of the EU withdrawal process, Jeremy Corbyn said today.
The Labour leader’s comments in the Commons came a day after the EU gave Prime Minister Ms May her latest “flexible” extension of up to October 31 at an emergency summit in Brussels.
Ms May told MPs that she “never wanted to seek this extension” and that she regrets not being able to secure approval for her and the EU’s Withdrawal Agreement.
Mr Corbyn stressed that Ms May vowed three weeks ago that she would “not be prepared” to delay Brexit any further than June 30.
He also told MPs that now Britain is in the “extraordinary situation” of having to start the process of European Parliament elections but without knowing how long MEPs will take their seats for.
Mr Corbyn pointed out friction among the Tories by saying that, on Monday, a third of the Conservative Party voted against Ms May’s policy to request a short delay, and four of her Cabinet abstained.
Eurosceptic Tory MP Bill Cash stood to ask Ms May if she would resign for the “abject surrender” of accepting the EU27’s extension.
Mr Cash has consistently voted against her withdrawal deal and supports a no-deal Brexit.
Ms May said: “I think you know the answer to that.”
She has already promised to quit as PM after her deal passes – but that may now be as late as Halloween, if at all.
Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn also stated that Labour’s cross-party Brexit talks with the government are “serious, detailed and ongoing” but criticised the PM for missing opportunities to hold talks earlier.
He said: “The fact that the invitation didn’t even come at the eleventh hour but at five past midnight, three days after the Prime Minister had missed her own Brexit deadline of March 29 is a reflection of the government’s fundamental error in not proceeding by consensus.”
Labour is seeking a customs union arrangement in a “compromise” deal with the government with the view of getting a withdrawal plan through the Commons.
“If that is not possible, we believe all options should remain on the table including the option of a public vote,” he also said.
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