Corbyn: Labour likely to back public vote on UK PM's deal
Updated 22:15, 17-Mar-2019
CGTN

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn Sunday signaled he would back a proposal by lawmakers to hold a public vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal if it was approved by parliament.

May is expected to stage another vote on her deal to leave the European Union this week, but two of her ministers indicated on Sunday the Conservative government would only do so if there was the support to get it approved.

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Corbyn also said the Labour would most probably back a proposal, or an amendment, drawn up by Labour lawmakers Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, which would seek a "confirmation ballot" if May's deal is passed by parliament.

A pro-Brexit protester holds a banner as anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament, ahead of a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, London, the UK, January 15, 2019. /VCG Photo

A pro-Brexit protester holds a banner as anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament, ahead of a vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, London, the UK, January 15, 2019. /VCG Photo

"Yes we will be supporting it but we've obviously got to see the wording of it," he told reporters, adding that Labour would not support May's deal. "The priority is to make sure that we don't crash out on the 29th of March."

He said earlier Sunday that the party would force a confidence vote in May's government if the prime minister loses another vote on her Brexit withdrawal deal.

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“We've had one confidence vote already,” Corbyn told Sky News. “The government is apparently going to bring its proposals once again to parliament this week. I suspect they'll be defeated again, the whole process they are doing is running down the clock. 

“I think at that point a confidence motion would be appropriate. At that point, we should say there has to be a general election.”

Break the Brexit impasse

Meanwhile, Corbyn has also written to lawmakers from across Britain's parliament inviting them to a meeting to discuss ways to break the Brexit impasse before the third vote on May's deal.

The meeting would also serve as a starting point for Labour's alternative plan so as to prevent a "damaging Brexit."

Marchers gather at the beginning of the 'March to Leave' walk from the Port of Sunderland, Sunderland, the UK, March 16, 2019. /VCG Photo

Marchers gather at the beginning of the 'March to Leave' walk from the Port of Sunderland, Sunderland, the UK, March 16, 2019. /VCG Photo

"It must now be incumbent on us all as parliamentarians to do our best to work together and find a compromise and a solution that ends the needless uncertainty and worry that the government's failed Brexit negotiations have caused," Corbyn said in his letter.

Government: not enough support for May's deal yet

As a third vote on May's deal is approaching, the British government has not yet gained enough support to win the parliamentary vote, but a "significant number" of colleagues are coming around to back the plan, the finance minister, Philip Hammond, said on Sunday.

Hammond also added that May's deal would only go ahead if the government thought it could win.

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"What has happened since last Tuesday is that a significant number of colleagues, including some very prominent ones who have gone public, have changed their view on this and decided that the alternatives are so unpalatable to them that they on reflection think the prime minister's deal is the best way to deliver Brexit," he told reporters.

Asked if the government had enough numbers yet, he replied: "Not yet, it is a work in progress."

May warned lawmakers earlier Sunday that unless they approved her Brexit divorce deal after two crushing defeats, Britain's exit from the EU could face a long delay and could involve taking part in European parliament elections.

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The Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which helps prop up May's government said Saturday that they are close to changing its position for the first time after receiving a promise that the government would put into law a requirement that there be no divergence between Northern Ireland and Britain, the Spectator magazine said.

To get her deal approved, May needs to overturn the 149-vote defeat she suffered on March 12 within three days.

(Cover: Britain's main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in London, February 20, 2019. /VCG Photo)

Source(s): Reuters