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JEREMY CORBYN described PM Theresa May’s EU withdrawal deal as a “one-way agreement” in which Brussels “calls all the shots” today, while her former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab accused her of caving in to the “bullying EU.”
The Labour leader said his party could negotiate a better deal that would be in the interests of workers in Britain, pointing out the hollowness of the government’s “vague” Brexit plans during an appearance on Sky News.
Mr Corbyn said in the interview on the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: “We’ll vote against this deal because it doesn’t meet our tests.
“We don’t believe it serves the interest of this country, therefore the government have to go back to the EU and renegotiate rapidly.
“There’s 500 pages in this document much of which is quite vague. Where’s the guarantee on environmental protections, where’s the guarantee on consumer protections, where’s the guarantee on workers’ rights?”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that her MPs would vote against the deal in Parliament, adding that she hopes to sit down this week with Labour and other critical parties to formulate an alternative.
The deal was condemned as “dangerous” by MP Nigel Dodds of the DUP, which Ms May relies on to make up for her lost Commons majority, as it would “place a trade border in the Irish Sea.”
And Sinn Fein president Mary-Lou McDonald rejected any possibility of her party’s seven MPs making the historical move of taking their seats in the Commons to back the deal.
Within her own party Ms May is the target of a number of Tory MPs who have submitted letters to the backbench 1922 Committee in favour of a no confidence vote, but committee chairman Graham Brady refused today to reveal how many he has received.
On BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Raab, who quit his position as chief Brexit negotiator earlier this month over the deal that Ms May brought back from Brussels, said that the plan was “fatally flawed” as the Irish “backstop” arrangement meant Britain would be tied to the EU with no say in the rules and no trade independence.
He also accused the EU of “blackmail,” saying the government is being “bullied” by Brussels as a result of its own lack of political will in the negotiations. Despite such criticisms, he said that he still supported Ms May to remain in her job.
Appearing on Sky News today, Ms May faced questions over why she had not considered quitting as PM despite the resignations of four department secretaries, three ministers and one parliamentary private secretary within just five months in protest against her plans for Brexit.
She said the next seven days “are going to be critical” because she will be returning to Brussels this week for an emergency summit with EU representatives including European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
Ms May warned her rivals from within her party against plans to replace her as leader, saying that the uncertainty “is not going to make the negotiations any easier”.
She later revealed that she had spoken to 1922 Committee chair Mr Brady and, as far as she was aware, the number of Tory MPs’ letters to trigger a no-confidence vote had not reached the minimum of 48 that is required.
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