More Labour Brexit chaos as Jeremy Corbyn backs Remainer wrecking plot and accuses his rebel MPs of being ‘sell-outs’ for backing Boris Johnson’s deal
- He squared off against the Prime Minister in the Commons this morning
- Labour also appeared to back a rebel amendment by ex-Tory Sir Oliver Letwin
- It would cancel the deal vote later and force the PM to seek another extension
Jeremy Corbyn signalled he will line Labour up against Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and dare his own Leave-sympathetic backbenchers to rebel against him today.
The Labour leader blasted it as a ‘sell-out’ deal as he squared off against the Prime Minister in the Commons.
And ahead of a vote on the withdrawal agreement Labour also appeared to back a rebel amendment by ex-Tory minister Sir Oliver Letwin which would kill off the vote before it even happens.
Sir Oliver’s wrecking amendment would prevent the PM’s deal being put to a formal vote, forcing him to beg the EU for an extension into the new year.
With Labour backing the amendment looks almost certain to be passed, throwing politics into yet another crisis.
Mr Corbyn re-iterated his desire for a second referendum, saying the deal would ‘be a disaster for working people’ because it would ‘hammer the economy, cost jobs and sell workers’ rights down the river’.
In a message as much directed at backbenchers prepared to vote with the Government, he told the Commons today: ‘Voting for a deal today won’t end Brexit. It won’t deliver certainty and the people should have the final say.
‘Labour is not prepared to sell-out the communities we represent. We are not prepared to sell out their future.
‘And we will not back this sell-out deal.’
The Labour leader blasted it as a ‘sell-out’ deal as he squared off against the Prime minister in the Commons.
Mr Johnson said Mr Corbyn was ‘wrong’ about his claims on environmental and social protection, saying: ‘This Government, this country will maintain the very highest standards and we will lead in environmental protection and social protection in Europe and across the world.’
Mr Johnson also said: ‘He talks about trust – this is a right honourable gentleman… who patently does not trust his own party, he doesn’t trust the shadow chancellor (John McDonnell).
‘Above all he has not been willing to trust the people of this country by granting them the right to adjudicate on him and his policies in a general election.
‘He won’t trust the people and he doesn’t trust the people by delivering on the result of their referendum in 2016.
‘I suggest in all humility and candour to the House that they should ignore the pleadings of (Mr Corbyn) and vote for an excellent deal that will take this country and take the whole of Europe forward.’
Labour MPs were last night at the heart of an extraordinary tug of war as Boris Johnson tried to love-bomb them into backing his Brexit deal.
The support of just a handful of Labour rebels could unlock victory for the Prime Minister in this afternoon’s knife-edge Commons vote.
Mr Johnson and his ministers spent yesterday telephoning MPs on all sides in a last-minute bid to woo them.
Among those reaching out to opposition MPs was Health Secretary Matt Hancock. It is understood Downing Street last night offered Labour MPs a sweetener on workers’ rights in a bid to persuade them to come on board.
The Withdrawal Agreement Bill will include a legally binding commitment for MPs to get a vote on whether to follow suit every time the EU introduces new employment measures.
The support of just a handful of Labour rebels could unlock victory for the Prime Minister in this afternoon’s knife-edge Commons vote
Seven Labour MPs – Jim Fitzpatrick, Sir Kevin Barron, Sarah Champion, Melanie Onn, John Mann, Graham Stringer and Ronnie Campbell – have publicly declared their intention to back the deal. And Rosie Cooper and Caroline Flint are expected to do the same after previously supporting Theresa May’s deal.
A further 13 are considering such a move.
However, Momentum founder Jon Lansman, who sits on Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC), yesterday threatened Labour backbenchers with deselection if they vote for a deal. In an effort to turn the thumbscrews on potential rebels, he tweeted: ‘Labour MPs cannot and must not vote for [Mr Johnson’s deal].
‘If they do, the NEC will have no choice but to replace them with a new, socialist Labour candidate at the next election.’