Corbyn plans a Labour leader will table motion if Theresa May’s deal fails to win vote
Theresa May faces a vote of no confidence in her government “soon”, Jeremy Corbyn has warned, as the prime minister issued a last ditch plea to MPs to back her Brexit deal or risk staying in the European Union.
The Labour leader said people should “see what happens” tomorrow, when Mrs May’s controversial Withdrawal Agreement is put to a vote in the Commons, but said his party would table a confidence motion “at a time of our choosing”.
Mr Corbyn told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “We will table a motion of no confidence in the government at a time of our choosing, but it’s going to be soon, don’t worry about it.”
It came after the prime minister warned of a “catastrophic and unforgivable” breach of trust in democracy if her exit plan is defeated and the UK remains in the EU.
With just two days to go before the Commons vote on her Withdrawal Agreement, Mrs May pleaded with parliamentarians to “do what is right for our country” and back her deal.
Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay also warned of a “growing risk” that Parliament could frustrate Brexit, following reports of a plot to change Commons rules to enable backbench motions to take precedence over government business if Mrs May’s deal falls.
Downing Street said it was “extremely concerned” about the plans, reported in the Sunday Times, which could threaten Brexit legislation and the government’s ability to govern.
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said it would be “unforgivable” if a no-deal Brexit was allowed to happen, adding: “I think Parliament will insist that we pursue the option of no Brexit.”
Sir Vince said this could happen by cancelling Article 50 – which he noted would be “resented by lots of people” – or via a second referendum.
Mr Corbyn hinted that Article 50 may have to be extended if his party came into power.
He told Marr: “Clearly, if a general election takes place and a Labour government comes in, clearly there’s only a few weeks between that and the leave date, and there would have to be time for those negotiations.”
Writing in the Sunday Express, Mrs May said: “You, the British people, voted to leave. And then, in the 2017 general election, 80% of you voted for MPs who stood on manifestos to respect that referendum result. You have delivered your instructions. Now it is our turn to deliver for you.
“When you voted in the referendum, you did so because you wanted your voice to be heard. Some of you put your trust in the political process for the first time in decades. We cannot – and must not – let you down.
“Doing so would be a catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust in our democracy. So my message to Parliament this weekend is simple: it is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country.” The simplest outcome to the plot comes if the government wins the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement.
In this instance, the UK would leave the European Union on March 29.
But should Mrs May’s deal be voted down, then a host of scenarios are available.
An amendment passed by Parliament means that the government must come back with their plan B three days following the vote.
A vote of no confidence in Mrs May has been mooted and a general election could take place if it succeeds.
The government could also ask for an extension to Article 50, either from the current government or in the instance that a new prime minister was appointed.
Should the EU not agree to postponing Brexit then the UK would leave the EU without a deal on March 29.
The big unknowns are on extending Article 50, and on reopening negotiations.
This could include discussions about a free trade agreement, a customs union, membership of the single market and even a second referendum on the deal.