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John McDonnell: Labour Brexiters will oppose May’s deal to bring her down

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John McDonnell RTS1MV7I
John
McDonnell.

Simon Dawson /
Reuters


  • Pro-Brexit Labour MPs are ready to vote down Theresa
    May’s Brexit deal in order bring her down to install Jeremy
    Corbyn as prime minister, John McDonnell claims.
  • The Shadow Chancellor said on Wednesday that anti-EU
    Labour MPs who have voted with the government on previous
    Brexit votes will reject the deal May hopes to bring back from
    Brussels.
  • McDonnell said, “small numbers” of Labour MPs would
    vote with the government.
  • Corbyn has whipped Labour MPs to vote against the
    government’s Brexit deal.

LONDON — Labour Brexiteers will ultimately drop their support for
Theresa May’s Brexit plans and vote down any deal she brings back
from Brussels, the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has claimed.

May’s government is reportedly hoping up to 30 Labour MPs will
join with the prime minister and back her Brexit deal.

However, speaking to reporters on Wednesday morning, the Shadow
Chancellor predicted that Labour’s Brexit rebels would, in the
end, reverse their support for May’s deal.

McDonnell claimed that Labour’s staunch pro-Brexit MPs have told
him they would consider voting against May’s Brexit deal in order
to bring down the Conservatives and install a Labour government.

“Last time [MPs voted on Brexit legislation] there was Kelvin
[Hopkins], Graham Stringer, Kate Hoey and Frank Field, [who voted
with May]” McDonnell said.

“I had a chat with them while the division bells were going on
but Graham Stringer, in particular, said ‘I can’t vote with you
this time John but this government will fall apart in the autumn
and I’ll reconsider.’

He added: “So some of them might reconsider. There’ll be small
numbers.”

With May facing the prospect of Conservative and DUP MPs voting
against a Brexit deal this winter, the prime minister may have to
rely on support from Labour MPs to get an agreement with the EU
through Parliament.

Downing Street briefed last month that it had spoken to up to 30
Labour MPs who said they were considering voting with the
government, including Remain-voting MPs like Lisa Nandy, Caroline
Flint and Gareth Snell.

However, all of the Labour MPs reputed to
be on the list told Business Insider
that they hadn’t even
been approached by the government.

Sources within the People’s Vote campaign have told BI that they
expect an “absolute maximum of 15” to vote in favour of the deal.

‘If they can’t get a deal, move alongside and we’ll negotiate’


Jeremy Corbyn John McDonnellLeon
Neal/Getty Images

Speaking at a post-budget briefing, McDonnell said business
figures had expressed their concern about the state of Brexit
negotiations. “The big issue today is Brexit and where we are
going from here,” he said.

“We were here to say to people that we are just as worried as
they are about the uncertainty and lack of assurance from
the government about getting a deal. We are really worried
about the role that Philip Hammond is playing.

“On one hand, at times he reverts to his Singapore tax haven
island off the coast of continental Europe and other times
warning about no deal. I keep saying to him, he’s got to stand up
in Cabinet and say there has to be a deal.”

He dodged BI’s question on whether Labour would set aside money
for no deal Brexit preparations, saying: “We’ve said to them [the
government] get on with the deal and if they can’t get a deal,
move alongside and we’ll negotiate.

No deal would be pretty catastrophic and we are convinced there’s
a deal to be had. They know that. We’ll support a deal if it
protects jobs and the economy.”

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