May faces backlash for holding Brexit vote during Trump visit

Jeremy Corbyn

British lawmakers will vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal in the first week of June, the same week U.S. President Donald Trump is due to visit Britain, Brexit minister Stephen Barclay said on Wednesday.

May met with Corbyn "to make clear our determination to bring the talks to a conclusion and deliver on the referendum result to leave the EU".

"I would encourage both my colleagues in the Conservative party in the House of Commons and the Labour Party to try to walk back to the centre and let's get a deal over the line".

"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".

Britain had been due to leave the European Union on March 29 but parliament has three times rejected the withdrawal agreement May struck with Brussels.

Tories are anxious about The Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage, which is now polling way ahead of every other party in European election voting intentions.

"If the House (of Commons) has not passed the Withdrawal Agreement Bill then there are growing voices in Europe, not least the French, who want to move on to other issues", he said.

He said: "The Prime Minister has not pursued the one option that has ever achieved a positive vote for something in Parliament".

On Thursday, she will meet senior Conservatives who have demanded a detailed timetable for her departure.




The ongoing Brexit shambles has already brought about enormous damage, which would only be exacerbated if we actually leave the EU.

But her ministers discussed at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday "the compromises which the government was prepared to consider" and agreed to keep talking, May's spokesman said.

The questions had come after she retweeted praise of a party political broadcast from the Brexit Party on Twitter.

But after more than four weeks of talks, the two party leaders appear no closer to agreeing a common position, with Labour saying May had not shifted her position and warning a future Conservative leader could rip up any deal they struck.

Cross-party Brexit talks between Labour and the Tories have so far failed to produce a compromise agreement. But if we, under a new leader, reinvent ourselves properly as a Brexit party, we will be faced with the inevitability at some point of a general election in order to deliver Brexit because this parliament is stopping the delivery of Brexit.

Opposition among Conservatives and their Northern Irish allies, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), is focused on the Irish "backstop" plan. There is also pressure on Labour to insist on a second referendum.

He said if the plan is rejected by MPs, the United Kingdom will face no deal, or Article 50 could be revoked - so no Brexit.

Downing Street said efforts were continuing to find a "sustainable" majority for Mrs May's deal, with discussions involving DUP and Labour MPs as well as Tories.

And Labour, the principal opposition party, while politically committed to leaving the European Union, also opposes the deal over issues of workers' rights and those of European Union nationals living in Britain and British nationals living within the EU.

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