Corbyn: Government is offering a Brexit choice between 'the devil or deep blue sea'

PUBLISHED: 10:07 28 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:28 28 December 2018

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Jeremy Corbyn is calling for Parliament to be recalled so that MPs can decide the future of Theresa May's Brexit deal.

In an interview with the Independent, the Labour leader said he wanted to ensure the vote took place “as soon as possible” and said that the prime minister was trying to “run down the clock” to offer MPs just two choices.

He compared those choices - her plan or a no-deal Brexit - to choices between “the devil or the deep blue sea.”

Corbyn said it was in May’s hands whether she should recall Parliament a week early - on January 2.

“I want us to have a vote as soon as possible, that’s what I’ve been saying for the past two weeks, and if that means recalling parliament to have the vote let’s have it,” he told the paper.

“But it looks to me the Government has once again reneged on that and tried to put it back another week.

“We need to have that vote so a decision of parliament can be made. What I suspect is that it’s a completely cynical manoeuvre to run down the clock and offer MPs the choice of the devil or the deep blue sea.”

Corbyn, however, refused to be drawn into whether or not Labour would choose to extend Article 50 to keep the UK in the EU for longer.

He said: “Lots of things are possible, the EU has longform on reopening and extending negotiations, but let’s not jump too many hoops when we haven’t arrived at them.”

MPs are due to return to the Commons on January 7 after a two-week Christmas break, and will begin a new debate on May’s deal again on January 9. A vote is expected to take place the following week.

A Downing Street source labelled Corbyn’s call a “silly demand”, and said: “Following debate in the Commons, in the week commencing 14 January MPs will vote on the Brexit deal.

“Instead of making silly demands, Jeremy Corbyn should be honest with voters that he has no alternative plan, and only intends to frustrate Brexit - ultimately betraying the referendum result.”

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