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JEREMY CORBYN is poised to launch a motion of no confidence in the government if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is rejected by MPs for a third time this week.
The Labour leader said today that it would be “appropriate” to table another confidence motion in the government with the view to trigger a general election.
A third vote on the Withdrawal Agreement could take place as soon as tomorrow evening. Last week the deal was rejected by a majority of 149 MPs. In January it was rejected by a majority of 230.
Mr Corbyn told Sky News: “We should say there has to be a general election, so the people of this country can decide ‘do they want a Labour government investing in people’s communities, dealing with inequality, injustice and having a relationship with Europe that protects jobs and guarantees our trade for the future’?”
But Cabinet ministers said yesterday that the Prime Minister could choose to not hold a third “meaningful vote” unless she is confident that she could overturn her previous defeats by getting the DUP and back-bench Tories on board with her plan.
Ms May said that if MPs did not back her deal before Thursday’s European Council Summit then she would have to seek a long extension to the Article 50 process. She also threatened Brexiteer MPs with the possibility of Brexit being cancelled altogether.
She also wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that it would be a “potent symbol of Parliament’s collective political failure” if a delay to Brexit meant Britain was forced to elect MEPs in May.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond rejected claims that he was offering extra cash to the DUP to get them to back the deal amid their long-standing concerns over the Irish border backstop.
Mr Hammond, who was involved in talks with DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds on Friday, said the discussions had focused on preventing a regulatory border in the Irish Sea.
The government may also have to find another £1 billion to secure two more years of the confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP, which makes up for the Tories’ Commons minority.
On the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Mr Hammond said: “This isn’t about money. It’s about a political assurance.”
In a statement on Saturday, the DUP said that it was “not discussing cash” with the Tories.
But shadow chancellor John McDonnell warned that Ms May was in “danger of destroying all confidence in our political system” if Mr Hammond’s presence at the talks with the DUP indicates that the Tories were offering the DUP “another bung” in return for support for the Withdrawal Agreement.
“It will rightfully be seen by the British electorate as corrupt politics and will demean our political system in the eyes of the world,” he said.
“Who could ever again trust the probity of our system of government?”
Mr Hammond has also refused to release £27bn of public money if the Brexit deal is not approved by MPs.
Yesterday, he insisted it was “not economic blackmail, it’s common sense” and claimed that he needed to reserve the cash for the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies think tank revealed in an analysis of Mr Hammond’s Spring Statement last week that he has leeway of around £15bn to spend on ending austerity.
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