Opposition leaders demand statement from May after Cabinet

PUBLISHED: 18:12 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 18:15 14 November 2018

Opposition leaders in Westminster - Jeremy Corbyn, Vince Cable and Ian Blackford (Photographs: PA)

Opposition leaders in Westminster - Jeremy Corbyn, Vince Cable and Ian Blackford (Photographs: PA)

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Opposition leaders at Westminster have written to prime minister Theresa May demanding that she make a statement to MPs about any Brexit deal agreed by Cabinet.

The five MPs, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said it would be “entirely inappropriate” for the PM to brief the press before coming to the House of Commons to make a statement on the decision of Cabinet.

They said Speaker John Bercow had made clear he was ready to make time in proceedings on Wednesday evening for the PM to deliver a statement.

May is expected to speak to the media in Downing Street following the conclusion of the emergency 2pm Cabinet meeting, which looked set to continue into the early evening after running over its expected three-hour duration.

The PM is not expected to stand behind a lectern bearing the Government crest when she makes her statement to TV cameras.

If approved by Cabinet, the 500-page draft Brexit agreement is expected to be released later in the evening, and the PM is then expected to answer questions from the press.

Corbyn was joined in signing the letter by the Scottish National Party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts and Green ex-leader Caroline Lucas.

They said: “We are writing to you as a matter of urgency to demand that you make a statement to the House of Commons on the withdrawal agreement and future framework between the EU and the UK.

“Your Ministerial Code is clear that important statements of policy should be made to the House of Commons first and not to the press.

“It is entirely inappropriate for you to brief the press through a press conference, as we understand you plan to do this evening, before coming to the House to make a statement and to be questioned by elected Members of Parliament.

“Mr Speaker made clear earlier that he would be willing to facilitate a statement from you at any time today.”

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