Getting rid of me risks delaying Brexit, says May

Marco Green
November 19, 2018

The Labour Party leader also panned British Prime Minister Theresa May's proposed Brexit agreement with the European Union, calling it a "one-way agreement" in which Brussels "calls all the shots".

After a tumultuous week in which the draft divorce deal agreed between London and the European Union was slammed in parliament and plotters circled, May said the proposed withdrawal accord would only be signed off if the future relationship deal was satisfactory.

He also had sharp words for the Irish government, which he said had "behaved irresponsibly for political purposes" when it came to the thorny issue of the "backstop" - an agreement covering the status of the Irish border.

May said negotiations were continuing and she meant to go to Brussels and meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Her EU sherpa Olly Robbins has been discussing the political declaration on the future relationship with Mr Barnier's Article 50 task force.

The prime minister also may key replacements which would stabilise her position, handing the role of work and pensions secretary to ally and remain voter Amber Rudd, who went full-force on the defensive for May, telling the BBC that any MPs thinking of submitting letters of no confidence should "think again".

Here's what they had to say.

"As far as I know, no, it has not", May told Sky News, when asked if the threshold had been met for a formal leadership contest, Reuters reported.

"We're not going to be distracted".

She added: "A change of leadership at this point isn't going to make the negotiations any easier and it isn't going to change the parliamentary arithmetic".

The former lead negotiator on Brexit, Dominic Raab, hit out at the deal in an interview with The Sunday Times.

Asked by Ridge whether she had considered stepping down, May said: "No, I haven't".

With "two or three points" being changed he could support the government's proposals, he said.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would vote against May's deal when it came to parliament and the government should go back to Brussels for further negotiations.

Andrea Leadsom has said there is still time for "more to be done" on the Brexit deal as the Conservative Party continues to row over Theresa May's withdrawal agreement with Brussels.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she wanted talks with other parties this week on forging a united front against the draft agreement.

"I have worked very closely with her on Brexit and I think there is still the opportunity to get this right, support the Prime Minister - but she must also listen and change course on Brexit".

The tentative deal triggered the resignation of two of May's cabinet secretaries - including Dominic Raab, her Brexit secretary who helped negotiate it - as well as letters from members of parliament in her own Conservative party calling for a vote of no confidence in her leadership.

"If we can not close this deal on reasonable terms, we need to be very honest with the country that we will not be bribed and blackmailed or bullied and we will walk away", he told the Sunday Times. "We can not accept those dictated terms", he claimed on a rival TV show.

Meanwhile the Confederation of British Industry, the main business lobby group, said the deal was not flawless but a compromise that "takes no deal off the table" and opens the path to frictionless trade in the future, said CBI chief Carolyn Fairbairn.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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