Corbyn 'would relish' Brexit TV debate with Theresa May as PM tries to sell her exit deal

Prime minister planning campaign to take case for her deal to the nation

Jon Sharman
Monday 26 November 2018 00:00
Jean-Claude Juncker says MPs who vote down Theresa May's Brexit deal will be 'disappointed in the first second'

Jeremy Corbyn has said he “would relish” a head-to-head TV debate with Theresa May as the prime minister embarks on a campaign to sell her Brexit deal to the nation.

Ms May will attempt to drum up support for her withdrawal agreement – approved by EU leaders on Sunday – while hoping to overcome huge opposition to it in the Commons ahead of MPs’ “meaningful vote” in December.

She will warn MPs that rejecting her plan will “open the door to more division and uncertainty, with all the risks that will entail”. Reports suggested she would seek a TV debate with Mr Corbyn as part of that campaign.

Responding to those reports, a Labour spokesperson said on Sunday night: “Jeremy would relish a head to head debate with Theresa May about her botched Brexit deal and the future of our country.”

Mr Corbyn has said the deal represents ”the result of a miserable failure of negotiation that leaves us with the worst of all worlds”.

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, had already thrown her hat in the ring. She tweeted on Saturday: “I’d be up for a full leaders debate on the ‘deal’.”

Ms May is due to face the Commons again now that her plan has won EU approval, and is expected to tell parliamentary colleagues: “Our duty as a parliament over these coming weeks is to examine this deal in detail, to debate it respectfully, to listen to our constituents and decide what is in our national interest.

“There is a choice which MPs will have to make. We can back this deal, deliver on the vote of the referendum and move on to building a brighter future of opportunity and prosperity for all our people.

“Or this house can choose to reject this deal and go back to square one.”

More than 80 Tories have rejected the deal, with opposition parties – and Mrs May’s allies in the DUP – also set to oppose it.

Earlier on Sunday foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted Ms May could carry on as prime minister if she was defeated. Pressed on whether the government could collapse in that scenario, he added: “It’s not possible to rule out anything.”

Additional reporting by PA

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