‘Door open but your mind is closed’: Corbyn lays into May over Brexit redlines at PMQs
In what had a feeling of Groundhog Day, PMQs brought May and Corbyn head-to-head again on the polarizing issue of Brexit. The encounter ultimately shed no more light on the next steps the UK government is likely to take with Britain’s withdrawal from the EU fast approaching.
What it did bring was accusations and counter-accusations as to who was to blame for the current impasse.
May took a pop at Corbyn for refusing to agree to discussions on Brexit, and laying down pre-conditions for any such talks. The PM argued that “he has been willing to sit down with Hamas, Hezbollah and the IRA without preconditions, yet he won’t meet me to talk about Brexit.”
The Labour leader hit back by claiming he has been open to talks on finding a consensus within parliament since autumn 2018, but that the PM has remained intransigent in relation to her Brexit redlines.
Corbyn told the House of Commons: “I did reach out to the PM last September when I offered to discuss our deals with her, and it appears that while the doors to her office are open, the minds inside it are completely closed.”
He criticized International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, who Corbyn claims had promised to seal 40 trade deals the moment the UK leaves the EU, but “this morning he couldn’t name a single one.”
Tory MP Peter Bone, who is a staunch Brexiteer, urged the prime minister to replace some of her cabinet members with MPs who believed in Brexit, because her government was “stuffed full of Remainer ministers who do not want to leave the European Union.”
May replied: “Well, I’ve heard some job applications in my time but that was quite an interesting one.”
Parliament will vote on May’s alternative Brexit proposals on Tuesday, as well as a series of amendments that include delaying the UK’s departure from the EU by negotiating an extension to Article 50. The UK is set to leave the bloc on March 29.
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