Theresa May ‘will offer Jeremy Corbyn a new Brexit deal TODAY’ and tell him he has 24 hours to accept it – but she is warned a pact with Labour will trigger moves to oust her this week
- Theresa May is expected to offer a deal to Jeremy Corbyn on customs union
- But the Prime Minister is expected to demand an answer by Thursday at latest
- 1922 committee expected to meet to discuss ousting her if a Labour deal is done
- Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said PM should announce a ‘road map’ for departure
Theresa May is today expected to offer a customs union compromise to Labour and put Brexit in Jeremy Corbyn’s hands – but has been warned by Tory MPs that it will cost her her job.
The Prime Minister wants Mr Corbyn to sign up within the next 24 hours after both parties were mauled by local election voters last week over Britain’s failure to leave the EU.
Today, as cross-party talks entered a sixth week, the PM’s de-facto deputy David Lidington is expected to offer Labour a temporary customs union in the hope it will break the Brexit deadlock at Westminster.
But there are still doubts about the deal going ahead with many of Mr Corbyn’s MPs still demanding a permanent customs union with the EU plus a second referendum on any final deal.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said today that all sides in the cross-party Brexit talks between the Government and Labour need to be willing to compromise.
However, he said that he did not believe a permanent customs union with the EU – supported by Labour – offered a ‘sustainable, long-term solution’ to the current impasse.
A serious Theresa May arrives back at Downing Street today after a long weekend in her Maidenhead constituency as it appears she is ready to offer Labour a Brexit compromise to get her deal through Parliament
The PM is being by her own MPs that doing a deal with Labour would hasten her own departure
Mrs May’s de-facto deputy David Lidington is expected to offer Labour a temporary customs union in the hope it will break the Brexit deadlock at Westminster. But Mr Corbyn (pictured today) is expected to have a day to accept it
‘I think this is a time when we have to be willing to make compromises on all sides because the message of last week was that voters for both main parties are very, very angry about the fact that Brexit hasn’t been delivered,’ he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
Brexit timeline: What happens this week?
Tory talks with Labour enter week 6 and Theresa May is expected to offer her compromise deal – but will expect Jeremy Corbyn to agree it within 24 hours. She will not attend the talks, and will meet Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, who will demand a timetable for her exit.
PMQs where her backbenchers are expected to give her a battering over her compromise with Labour.
Labour will be expected to make a decision on Mrs May’s deal. If talks fail there could be a series of new indicative votes on Brexit, with Mrs May’s own deal expected to be included for the first time.
‘I personally think that any kind of permanent customs union wouldn’t work in the long run because our economy is too big, but let’s see what the parties come up with.’
Sir Graham Brady, the 1922 chairman, today prepares to meet Mrs May to discuss her exit plan. It has been suggested that he will demand a timetable for her departure.
But if she refuses to set a date there will be a 1922 meeting this week where a plan to oust her is expected to be discussed.
She cannot face another Tory confidence vote until December but grassroots Tories will hold there own in Mrs May on June 15. It is not binding but if she loses it will be difficult for her to stay in power.
MPs would swing behind any Brexit plan agreed by Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, two former Cabinet ministers claimed yesterday.
Nicky Morgan, a Tory former education secretary, and Caroline Flint, a Labour former communities secretary, told their leaders a compromise would succeed.
Negotiators for both parties are this afternoon expected to meet to discuss the Prime Minister’s proposal for Britain to remain temporarily in a customs union with the EU.
Hardline Tory Eurosceptics and Labour Party Remainers have warned of the dangers of a cross-party deal.
But in an article for Conservative Home, Mrs Morgan said: ‘If Conservative MPs don’t want the Prime Minister to have to rely on Labour votes to get those things over the line then they know what they have to do – vote for the current draft agreement, or vote for a second reading of the Bill as it is presented to us.
‘If my colleagues won’t do that, then what choice does the Prime Minister have but to come to an agreement with the Labour Party? And I believe when it comes to it, the majority of the Conservative parliamentary party will back her if she does.’
Mrs Flint called on fellow Opposition MPs to drop their calls for a second referendum and get behind Mrs May. She told the BBC: ‘If a deal is struck in which Labour achieves many of its goals in that deal, that it takes us up to a general election in which all parties will be able to then set out their stall, that is a deal worth pursuing.
‘And if Labour signs up to a deal that includes those goals I think a majority of Labour MPs will support that.’
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd arrives to attend a weekly Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street and was followed in by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox arrives at No 10 as Brexit hangs in the balance again today
Britain’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid is seen outside Downing Street, as uncertainty over Brexit continues. He was followed in to No 10 by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling
Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom struggled with her shoes ahead of cabinet
Theresa’s dilemma… whatever she does
Theresa May is mulling the offer of staying in a customs union with the EU, at least until the next election.
This could stop Britain striking its own trade deals, risking a backlash that might cost the votes of more Conservative MPs than she gains from Labour.
The offer may be voted down, splitting the Tory party.
Labour backbenchers have put forward a plan that involves pledging to support the Prime Minister’s deal if she agrees to put it to a public vote.
However almost all Tory MPs and some in Labour’s ranks oppose this idea.
There would also be a dispute over the options on the ballot paper.
GO TO THE POLLS
If Mrs May continues to find no way to solve the parliamentary arithmetic, she could try to force an early election.
But many Tories want her to quit before another national poll and there is no guarantee she would gain the support of the two thirds of MPs needed to call one.
In any case, another hung parliament is likely.
Without a majority for any Brexit plan, Mrs May could decide it is time for No Deal.
This would delight some Tory MPs but there is a majority in Parliament against leaving the EU without an agreement.
Backbenchers led by Yvette Cooper and Sir Oliver Letwin would probably bring back legislation to stop her.
Disaster at the European Parliament elections later this month could persuade Mrs May to make way for another leader.
However, a new prime minister would face the same options and parliamentary arithmetic.
Brussels also insists it will not change the withdrawal agreement.
Mrs Flint insisted there was not a majority among MPs for a second referendum. Referring to last week’s local elections south of the Border, she said: ‘Across the North and the Midlands Labour took a hammering … those people voted in the referendum, many Labour voters, and others beside, for Leave. We need to show we respect their vote otherwise they will not listen to us again.’
Mr Corbyn told the Usdaw union conference yesterday that Brexit had had a big impact at the polls.
‘The Conservatives had an absolutely dreadful showing, their worst since 1995,’ he said. ‘Our results were mixed, it’s fair to say. No doubt Brexit had a big impact on the results. When our national conversation is dominated by baffling procedures in Parliament and nothing seems to change, I understand why people get frustrated.’
The new International Development Secretary Rory Stewart has said it would be worth splitting the Tory party to deliver Brexit. He claimed: ‘To get Brexit done, and to move this country on is worth an enormous amount, and we may have to take some short-term pain to do that.’
A senior Tory demanded last night that Mrs May must set out a ‘roadmap’ for her departure after the European Parliament elections later this month.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, said the Prime Minister had to go – regardless of whether she can negotiate a Brexit deal.
Sir Geoffrey yesterday BBC Radio 4’s Today porgramme: ‘We are now having to face the prospect of European elections which none of us wanted to face. They are going to happen.
‘And, I would have thought that fairly soon after that would be time for her to think about setting a schedule to find her successor.
‘That is regardless of whether there is a deal on offer or not.
‘We should move on as Conservatives.’
Meanwhile, Tory MP Sir John Redwood warned Mrs May that her current Brexit strategy will cost her her job.
He said she would be ultimately be ousted as PM if she kept presenting her Brexit withdrawal agreement to MPs ‘with new threats attached to it’ to try and get it through.
Mrs May has said she will step down if her Withdrawal Agreement is ratified, but – with the deadline for Brexit extended to the end of October – has not made clear how long she intends to stay if no deal is reached.
Reports that Mrs May is poised to propose a temporary customs arrangement with the EU as part of the talks with Labour also drew criticism from Sir Geoffrey.
He said: ‘It is unlikely that I will vote for a deal containing a customs union.’
Conservatives were warned they will have to ‘suck up concessions’ after Mrs May (pictured) acknowledged there was ‘no sign’ of her MPs uniting behind her deal
May European election costs soar to more than £150m
The cost of the European elections has spiralled to more than £150 million after Theresa May delayed preparations by insisting the poll would not be necessary, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The extra cost – which is 50 per cent higher than originally thought – is said to include millions of pounds in ‘contingency’ spending.
This would be paid out in the case that parties have to be reimbursed for the cost of fielding candidates who never get to take their seats in the European Parliament, it said.
The paper reported that the Government is expected to announce later this week that the cost of the elections will be £156m, compared to £108.7m when they were last held.
The biggest expense is in training and paying the returning officers and council staff who will administer the count, which will cost £96m, followed by £50m for mailing out polling cards and information about the election.
However, a further £4.5m is said to have been set aside for ‘contingency costs’ in case the election does not go ahead as parties would have their deposits returned if the election is cancelled.
The remainder will cover the cost of the elections in Northern Ireland, which includes the cost of security at some polling stations.
Mrs May’s opponents have threatened that if she fails to name the date she will go, they will revive their attempt to re-write party rules so they can remove her.
After the botched leadership challenge last December, Mrs May is immune to removal for 12 months.
A group of Tory MPs, led by 1922 committee secretary Nigel Evans, want to change the rules so they can trigger another confidence vote in Mrs May immediately.
Mr Evans on Sunday told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics: ‘I’m sure that the conversation will continue if we’ve not been given a clear lead by the Prime Minister through Sir Graham as to the timetable for her departure.’
An online survey by political blog Conservative Home at the weekend found that 82 per cent of their party member panel respondents want Mrs May to stand down as party leader and to call a leadership election.
The number of those who think she should leave is a record for the Conservative Home poll, and is up from last month, when 71 per cent of respondents wanted Mrs May to announce her resignation. Later in April, that figure hit 79 per cent, itself another record number.
The snap survey was held in the wake of some of the worst Conservative local election results in more than 20 years, which saw the party lose more than 1,300 councillors.
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