Corbyn to continue call for fresh UK general election as Brexit impasse continues

The UK Labour leader is facing increased pressure to back a second Brexit referendum

Corbyn to continue call for fresh UK general election as Brexit impasse continues

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn outside Kings Cross St Pancras station in London, 02-01-2019. Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

The leader of the British Labour Party will today continue his calls for a fresh general election in the UK.

In a speech later this afternoon, Jeremy Corbyn will argue that an election offers the most "practical" and "democratic" way to "break the deadlock" over Brexit.

He will also use the speech to confirm that his party will vote down the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement next week.

The British Government is insisting Brexit will go ahead as planned on March 29th, regardless of the outcome of the vote.

In his speech in West Yorkshire this afternoon, Mr Corbyn is due to say: "Let there be no doubt: Theresa May's deal is a bad deal and Labour will vote against it next week in parliament.”

"If the government cannot pass its most important legislation, then there must be a general election at the earliest opportunity.

"A government that cannot get its business through the House of Commons is no government at all.

"So I say to Theresa May: if you are so confident in your deal, call that election, and let the people decide."

Renegotiation

He will also claim that a general election would give the winner “a renewed mandate to negotiate a better deal for Britain and secure support for it in parliament and across the country.”

It remains unclear if he will officially give his backing for an extension of the Article 50 process to push back Brexit.

The party’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer yesterday warned that an extension "may well be inevitable now."

People's vote

It comes as Mr Corbyn faces increasing pressure from his Labour colleagues and supporters to back a second Brexit referendum.

Labour MP Jo Stevens said the party faces the prospect of an “historic” election defeat if it adopts a pro-Brexit position before any national poll.

“The EU has made it clear, repeatedly, that there is no prospect of a deal that differs, in any substantial form, from that negotiated with Theresa May,” she said.

“If we go into a general election on a pro-Brexit Labour platform the result could be an electoral reverse that would rival the historic defeats of 1931 and 1983 in scale and depth.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street, 09-01-2018. Image:  Tim Ireland/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Parliamentary debates

Meanwhile, Mrs May is considering backing an amendment that would see the UK keeping EU rules on pay and conditions, health and safety, and environmental standards in an attempt to bolster support for the deal.

She has suffered two House of Commons defeats in the past 24 hours – after she yesterday lost a vote that will see her forced to reveal her Brexit “plan B” within three days if the Brexit deal is rejected by Parliament.

There was some good news for the prime minister yesterday after the Japanese leader Shinzo Abe and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte both pledged to try and help her win approval for the agreement.

Mr Abe is due to meet Mrs May in Downing Street today.