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May tells Corbyn it is ‘impossible’ to rule out ‘no-deal’ Brexit

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Theresa May has told Jeremy Corbyn it is “impossible” for her to rule out a “no-deal” Brexit, after the Labour leader sought to block his MPs from helping the government break a deadlock over Britain’s EU exit.

Mr Corbyn has instructed them not to “engage” with senior ministers until the prime minister takes the threat of leaving without an agreement off the table.

He asked them to “respect” his own position and “refrain” from contact designed to secure enough support from cross-party MPs to get an agreement passed through Parliament.

Mr Corbyn has dismissed the PM’s cross-party talks as a “stunt” and urged her to “ditch the red lines and get serious about proposals for the future”.



Jeremy Corbyn




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PM’s offer of talks ‘is a stunt’

Seeking to keep up the pressure on the Labour leader, the PM wrote to him reiterating that she was “disappointed” at his refusal to meet.

She said her door remains open for talks, but told Mr Corbyn on his “no-deal” demand: “That is an impossible condition because it is not within the government’s power to rule out no deal.”

She said this could be done only by getting a deal through Parliament or by overturning the 2016 referendum result, something she was not prepared to do.

Labour MPs had spent Thursday meeting senior government figures.



Labour MPs Hilary Benn and Yvette Cooper in Whitehall, London outside the Cabinet Office, after the Prime Minister announced that she would invite party leaders in the Commons and other MPs in for discussion to get a Parliamentary consensus on the way forward over Brexit.




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Opposition parties set out clear condition for Brexit support to PM

Senior committee chairs Yvette Cooper and Hilary Benn emerged from top-level talks in the Cabinet Office to say they were unaware of Mr Corbyn’s instruction.

But Mr Benn told journalists they were “doing our job as parliamentarians”.

Asked if Mr Corbyn should have been there too, the Brexit select committee chair said: “That’s a decision for Jeremy to take.

“He’s demonstrating it’s not just the prime minister who can be stubborn.”

Mr Benn added the Labour leader was “quite right” to demand no-deal be ruled out.

Chuka Umunna, a backbench Labour MP, vowed to carry on engaging with the government because Brexit is “above party politics”.

Another told Sky News: “There are many people I look to for guidance as to who and who not to speak to. Jeremy Corbyn isn’t one of them.”

Mrs May wrote to the Labour leader herself to “sincerely” urge him to help her “reach a solution” with “little time left”.



Theresa May




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‘Door open’ to Labour, May says

She said: “You have always believed in the importance of dialogue in politics.

“Do you really believe that, as well as declining to meet for talks yourself, it is right to ask your MPs not to seek a solution with the government.”

Meanwhile, a row has broken out after the government suggested it would take more than a year to hold a second referendum.








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May says ‘government will listen’ after deal defeat

MPs attending the Brexit talks were shown the civil service assessment, but campaigners for another vote have disputed the timetable.

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve, a supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said the claim was “simply wrong” and “it is neither helpful nor right to have misleading information of this kind put out”.

The failure of Mr Corbyn’s no-confidence motion in the government on Wednesday has renewed pressure on the Labour leader to back a second referendum.



The co-chair of Leave Means Leave tells Sky News talk of a second referendum should be stopped.




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‘Leave means Leave’ co-chair: Full steam ahead with ‘managed no-deal’

Speaking in Hastings earlier on Thursday, Mr Corbyn admitted that if the UK was facing the “potential disaster” of a no-deal divorce then Labour would look at supporting another referendum.

However, the Labour leader stressed his party would still prioritise trying to secure a general election or achieve a Brexit deal on the terms they have demanded.

He added that Labour would “come back again” with more no-confidence votes to topple the government.

Mrs May will reveal her Brexit Plan B on Monday, after MPs emphatically rejected her deal by 230 votes on Tuesday.

She will then face a debate on it on Tuesday 29 January, with parliamentarians getting a second chance to amend and vote on it.

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