Corbyn slams UK Government’s ‘terminally incompetent’ Brexit negotiations

Jeremy Corbyn has slammed the British Government’s “terminally incompetent” Brexit negotiations and demanded Theresa May make way for a Labour administration.

The Labour leader told the Commons that the latest Government strategy to extend the transition period was an “utter shambles”.

Mr Corbyn said his party’s approach to negotiate continued membership of a customs union with the European Union would see the current impasse around the Northern Ireland border issue resolved.

Instead of taking back control they're giving away our say and paying for the privilege. What an utter shambles

He said: “The Conservative Party has spent the last two years arguing with itself instead of negotiating a sensible deal in the public interest.

“Even at this crucial point they’re still bickering amongst themselves.

“This Government is terminally incompetent, hamstrung by its own divisions.”

He added: “Their Brexit negotiations have been a litany of missed deadlines, shambolic failure and now they’re begging for extra time.

“Instead of taking back control they’re giving away our say and paying for the privilege. What an utter shambles. Having utterly failed to act in the public interest, will the PM do so now and make way for a government that can and will?”

Mr Corbyn told MPs that a customs union would provide a “simple solution” to the Northern Ireland border issue, adding: “It’s a solution that not only benefits Northern Ireland but would help safeguard skilled jobs in every region and nation of Britain.

“No hard border in Ireland and no hard border down the Irish Sea, and good jobs for every region and nation.”

Theresa May updates MPs (PA)

Mrs May accused the Labour leader of “putting politics ahead of the national interest” with Brexit.

She said: “Throughout all of this all we have seen from the Labour Party, from him, is playing politics with this issue.

“One minute they want to accept the referendum, the next they want a second referendum. One minute they want to say free movement will end, the next they say free movement is still on the table.

“He is doing everything he can to frustrate Brexit and trigger a general election.”

The Prime Minister is humiliated and hamstrung by the extreme Brexiteers in her own party

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Mrs May’s ministers had “stony faces” during her statement, adding: “Prime Minister, some advice – if you’re looking for support, don’t look behind you.

“The Prime Minister returns to the House today from Brussels utterly humiliated. As the clock ticks down with just a few short months before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU, with Chequers shredded, the UK has no plan to break the impasse, no plan as we head ever closer to the cliff-edge

“Why? Because the Prime Minister is humiliated and hamstrung by the extreme Brexiteers in her own party.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said: “The Sunday Times, and again The Times this morning, reported that Whitehall – including the Brexit department – is now carrying out contingency planning for a people’s vote.

“Can the Prime Minister elaborate and confirm this has ministerial endorsement?”

Mrs May replied: “No, that is not correct. The Government does not support a second referendum.”

Conservative former cabinet minister Justine Greening also pressed the case for a second referendum if Parliament fails to support Mrs May’s deal, noting: “The only inevitable way forward, whether we like it or not, will then be to allow people to decide by either a second referendum or a general election – and the former would surely be preferable to the latter.”

DUP Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said the backstop for the Irish border is “neither necessary and is damaging” as he sought assurances that any such arrangement would require support from the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly.

Mrs May, in her reply, said the Government stood by its previous commitments.

- Press Association

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