- Theresa May risks her future on one last attempt on passing her Brexit deal.
- The vote on her Withdrawal Bill would need the support of the opposition Labour party to pass.
- However, Labour insist the prime minister must drop her red lines on the EU Customs union.
- The Democratic Unionist Party also say they will oppose the bill.
- The prime minister has already lost three votes on her deal.
- Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.
LONDON – Theresa May will hold a crucial vote on the legislation required to take Britain out of the EU, following talks with Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, in what could be her last act as prime minister.
The prime minister said she would call the vote on her Withdrawal Bill in the first week of June in order to allow Brexit to take place by the time of Parliament’s summer recess in July, whether or not she has secured an agreement with the opposition.
In a statement on Tuesday evening, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “This evening the Prime Minister met the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons to make clear our determination to bring the talks to a conclusion and deliver on the referendum result to leave the EU.”
“We will therefore be bringing forward the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week beginning the 3rd June. “It is imperative we do so then if the UK is to leave the EU before the summer Parliamentary recess.”
The spokesperson added that while talks with Corbyn had been “useful and constructive,” discussions would need to continue in the coming days and weeks to “ensure the safe passage of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill and the UK’s swift exit from the EU.”
Labour dismissed suggestions that they had signed up to support the bill however.
A spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn said that the Labour leader had doubts about the “credibility” of any offer made by the prime minister and suggested that Labour would not agree to back the deal without a clear shift in position by May.
“The Labour leader set out the shadow cabinet’s concerns about the Prime Minister’s ability to deliver on any compromise agreement,” they said.
“In particular he raised doubts over the credibility of government commitments, following statements by Conservative MPs and Cabinet Ministers seeking to replace the Prime Minister.
They added that there needed to be “further movement from the government, including on entrenchment of any commitments.”
The Democratic Unionist Party, which props up May’s minority government, also signaled that they would oppose the bill.
“If the Prime Minister brings the Withdrawal bill to the Commons for a vote the question will be “what has changed?” The DUP’s leader in Westminster, Nigel Dodds MP, said.
“Unless she can demonstrate something new that addresses the problem of the backstop then it is highly likely her deal will go down to defeat once again.”
Corbyn reluctant to back deal on fourth time of asking
There has so far been little sign of Labour and the Conservatives moving towards a deal.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor McDonnell said that the government was “nowhere near” to accepting Labour’s demands.
“We have been at this five weeks. We haven’t seen the significant shift yet that we require to support a deal,” McDonnell said.
“We want a permanent, comprehensive customs union. We want dynamic alignment with the single market. We want protection of worker, consumer and environmental rights.”
He added: “I won’t go into the detail of what’s been offered but it’s nowhere near enough.”
He said that talks had hit a particularly low point on Monday after senior Tory MPs, including possible successors to May, wrote to the prime minister urging her not to strike deal with Labour based on a customs union.
McDonnell’s comments were echoed by Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, Sue Hayman.
She told Business Insider on Tuesday that Labour was “trying to be very constructive” in talks with government ministers “but for there to be genuine progress the government has to move on its red lines.”
She suggested that Labour could soon walk out of talks if the government did not shift its red lines.
“At the moment we are committed to continuing them but we need to be able to get to a stage where we believe that any deal we come up with is something we can through Parliament – and that isn’t straightforward.”
Senior figures in May’s government have repeatedly warned the prime minister against agreeing any form of customs union with the Labour party, with the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox threatening to walk out of government if such an offer were made.