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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 15 July, 2020

May writes to Corbyn with plea for 'last chance' compromise as her Brexit hopes dwindle

The prime minister is running out of options and allies after unveiling her new Brexit plan yesterday.

Image: PA Images

UK PRIME MINISTER Theresa May has written to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urging him to compromise with her because her deal is “our last chance” to deliver Brexit.

May has come under fierce criticism over her new Brexit deal that she unveiled yesterday where, for the first time, she made a concession on the possibility of a second referendum that would see MPs would get a vote on whether the Brexit deal should be put to the people.

Her ten-point plan includes “as close to frictionless trade with the EU as possible” while ending free movement, an admission that the backstop would remain and guarantees that Northern Ireland would stay aligned with Great Britain no matter the outcome of talks with the EU. 

Senior Tories, including future leadership hopefuls, such as Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab dismissed May’s proposals while Labour’s Corbyn also said he will not support her.

Talks between Labour and the Conservatives to agree the way forward with Brexit stalled earlier this month.

In a letter to her opposition counterpart, seen by Sky News, May set out the measures she would take to compromise with Labour’s demands on Brexit and urged Corbyn to back her deal. 

On a second referendum, she told Corbyn: “My views on this question are a matter of record, but there are MPs on both sides of this House, but particularly the opposition benches, who have made it clear that they will not support any deal unless it includes a second referendum.

The government will therefore legislate to require a vote on whether to hold a second referendum to have taken place before the [Withdrawal Agreement Bill] can be ratified.

May said she’d shown that she was willing to compromise in order to deliver Brexit.

“The Withdrawal Agreement Bill is our last chance to do so,” she said. “I ask you to compromise too so that we can deliver what both our parties promised in our manifestos and restore faith in our politics.”

The prime minister is hoping to get her maligned withdrawal agreement through parliament by the time the summer recess begins on 20 July, which would allow Britain to leave the EU at the end of that month – as long as MPs reject a second referendum.

Otherwise the process could be delayed until 31 October – the deadline set by the EU – or even later if EU leaders grant Britain another postponement.

With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha

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Sean Murray

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