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May ‘only pretending to negotiate’ with the EU, Corbyn charges

JEREMY CORBYN criticised Theresa May over her lack of Brexit negotiating tactics at Prime Minister’s Questions today ahead of her return to Brussels.

The Labour leader urged her to detail what she would be proposing to European Union officials with only 37 days to go until Britain’s EU withdrawal deadline.

He said that last week European Council president Donald Tusk had said that the PM and her Cabinet were “only pretending to negotiate and there was nothing on the table from the British side.”

Ms May said that the issue she wanted to discuss with the EU was the Irish border backstop, and that her talks with EU officials are scheduled to continue right up until another vote in Parliament at some point later this month.

Mr Corbyn said it “sounds like it might be confusing for the European Union to understand exactly what the Prime Minister is turning up with.”

He said Ms May had “three groups of backbenchers” working on different proposals on the backstop. “So which of these proposals is the Prime Minister negotiating for? One, two or three?” he pondered.

In his concluding remarks, Mr Corbyn said: “Little more than a month to go and this government has failed to put the country first.

“The crisis of jobs going, industries under threat, and the Prime Minister indulges in what her own Business Minister called ‘fanciful nonsense.’ When is she going to put the interests of the people of this country before the interests of the Conservative Party?”

Ms May accused Mr Corbyn of “acting to frustrate a deal” as she urged MPs to back her unpopular Brexit plan, which had been rejected by a majority of 230 in the Commons.

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford branded Westminster “broken” as he asked when the Commons would get to vote on the Brexit deal.

The PM replied: “We’ve listened to the House of Commons, we’re working on the views of the House of Commons with the EU and we’ll bring a vote back when it’s the right time to do so.”

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