UPDATES WITH MORE QUOTES FROM LABOUR PARTY LEADER; EDITS THROUGHOUT
By Muhammad Mussa and Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) - Britain’s Labour Party will call for a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s Brexit government if her "botched" deal fails to get approval from the House of Commons next week, party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Thursday.
“So I say to Theresa May: if you are so confident in your deal then call that election and let the people decide,” Corbyn said in a speech in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, according to local media.
“If not, Labour will table a motion of no confidence in the government at the moment we judge it to have the best chance of success.”
The leader of the opposition also restated his call for Britain to remain in a customs union with the EU, arguing that a Labour government with a renewed industrial strategy will spur a “renaissance” in manufacturing, creating jobs for millions.
Without calling for outright membership, Corbyn stressed the importance of a strong relationship with the single market, making the case that frictionless trade under Labour leadership will see investment “in every region and nation of our country.”
Corbyn also vowed that Labour would continue to match EU standards on workers’ rights once the U.K. leaves the EU and that such guarantees, which protect environmental standards and consumer protections, will give workers more control over their livelihoods.
Corbyn also appeared open to a second referendum on May’s Brexit deal, saying: “If a general election cannot be secured then we will keep all options on the table, including the option of campaigning for a public vote.”
But he reiterated a second referendum is not a priority, as a general election “is not only the most practical option on the table, it is also the most democratic option.”
“Clearly, Labour does not have enough MPs in parliament to win a confidence vote on its own,” Corbyn said.
“So, members across the House should vote with us to break the deadlock,” he said, encouraging the members of the House to vote against the deal.
Corbyn said the vote next week could be the third defeat for May’s government in a week.
He argued that May’s government cannot command a majority in the Commons and said his party will move a no confidence motion “at a time of our choosing.”
“This chaos cannot go on,” he said, adding that “the only way out is a general election.”
- Dim hopes for deal in vote
A House of Commons vote on the withdrawal agreement reached by May and EU officials is set for next Tuesday.
The possibility of passage is low, as the opposition parties and the government’s de facto partner the DUP have already said they would vote no.
This week the government has been defeated in two key Brexit-related votes, as around 20 Tory MPs cast votes against the government.
The U.K. is set to leave the European club on March 29, ending the country’s more than 40-year membership as the result of a landmark 2016 referendum.