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In the face of the biggest government defeat in modern British history, May begs Unite and GMB to support her Brexit deal

THERESA MAY rang up trade union leaders to beg support for her Brexit deal in the desperate hope that their backing would help her avoid a colossal Commons defeat next week, it has been revealed.

In an unprecedented move for the Tory Prime Minister, she phoned Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, who is an ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and is a strong critic of Ms May and the government, and the pair had their first ever conversation.

Mr McCluskey explained to her during the 20-minute call that Unite and Labour want there to be a general election, it was reported today.

She also called GMB general secretary Tim Roache in the hope that she could persuade him to back her EU withdrawal plan. He said it was the first time he spoke to the Prime Minister.

Downing Street said that she had “constructive” phone conversations with the trade union general secretaries.

However it seems that her attempts have backfired as Mr Roache said that there was no way that he would endorse her deal.

He said: “After nearly three years I’m glad the Prime Minister finally picked up the phone.

“As you would expect, I was very clear about GMB’s position — the deal on the table isn’t good enough and non-binding assurances on workers’ rights won’t cut it.

“If the deal genuinely did the job for GMB members, our union would support it, but it doesn’t.”

It comes after a meeting Ms May had on Monday with a small group of Labour MPs — spearheaded by John Mann, who tabled an amendment to her deal that seeks to strengthen protections on workers’ rights and the environment.

Mr Mann said his amendment could make Ms May’s deal more “attractive” and, later, a Downing Street spokesperson confirmed that she is considering accepting it in order to get her Withdrawal Agreement over the line when it goes to the MPs’ vote on Tuesday.

However, it has been pointed out that the amendment would not result in a legally binding obligation for the government to fulfil its promise, sparking criticism from Labour and the TUC that the Tories should not be trusted on workers’ rights.

Ms May is believed to be facing the biggest government defeat in modern history when her deal goes to the vote. According to a BBC forecast, the deal will still be rejected by a whopping 228 votes.


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