- Jeremy Corbyn accuses Theresa May’s government of being “a coalition of chaos.”
- The Labour leader mocked the government’s Brexit “shambles” following the collapse of the divorce agreement between the UK and EU.
- The prime minister insists that “very good progress” is being made in negotiations.
LONDON – Jeremy Corbyn has mocked the government’s Brexit “shambles” after Theresa May failed to achieve a divorce deal with the European Union this week.
The Labour leader accused the government of being “a coalition of chaos” and said “the tail really is wagging the dog,” following the DUP blocking an agreement being made with the EU over the Irish border post-Brexit.
The prime minister insisted: “Negotiations are in progress and very good progress has been made in those negotiations.”
Brexit divorce talks were close to an agreement on the Irish border on Monday before collapsing after the DUP vetoed a plan to allow close regulatory alignment between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Corbyn asked the prime minister to “end the confusion” over the Irish border, and inform MPs what the government is planning.
May said: “We will ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland, we will do that while we respect the constitutional integrity of the UK and while we respect the internal market and protect the internal of the UK.
“And those Labour members who shout ‘how?’ – that’s the whole point of the second phase of the negotiations because we aim to deliver this as part of our overall trade deal between the EU and the UK. We can only talk about that when we get into phase 2. We have a plan, he has none.”
May repeated the government’s policy on Brexit when asked how negotiations are progressing, telling MPs: “We’re leaving the EU, we’re leaving the single market and the customs union but we will do what is right in the interests of the whole United Kingdom and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
Watch Corbyn mock May
“Is the PM now able to end the confusion, and clearly outline what the government’s position is now, with regard to the Irish border” @jeremycorbyn
— BBC Daily Politics and Sunday Politics (@daily_politics) December 6, 2017
When asked by DUP MP Jim Shannon for a “specific commitment” that there will be no barrier between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, May replied: “We are also working to respect the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom and the internal single market of the United Kingdom.”
After Brexit secretary David Davis told the Brexit select committee on Wednesday morning that impact assessments on separate sectors did not exist, Corbyn asked May to “put us out of our misery. Do they exist or don’t they?”
May said there are no “impact assessments” but there are “sectoral analyses” and repeated her decision not to give a “running commentary on negotiations.”
Corbyn told MPs: “This government is clearly not fit for the future. If they can’t negotiate a good deal, wouldn’t it be better if they just got out of the way?”
When asked by pro-Brexit Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg whether she would “apply a new coat of paint to her red lines because I fear on Monday they were going a bit pink,” May emphasised her commitment to the government’s principles.
The prime minister said the principles that were set out in her Lancaster House and Florence speeches remain.
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