Furious Jeremy Corbyn refuses to say if he will order his MPs to back Cooper plan to delay Brexit tomorrow in tense exchange
- Jeremy Corbyn was asked whether he would back Yvette Cooper’s plan today
- He snapped ‘no comment’ at reporters and stalked off away from questions
- Labour sources said there would be no official position from the party today
- Cooper’s plan to delay Brexit instead of a no deal will be voted on tomorrow
- But it can only succeed if Corbyn tells all his MPs to vote for it in the Commons
Jeremy Corbyn snapped at reporters asking if he would back a plan to delay Brexit to avoid no deal this morning.
The Labour leader barked ‘no comment’ at journalists outside his home as he refused to say whether he would back the plan tomorrow night.
Senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper has tabled the proposal alongside former Tory minister Nick Boles.
If it passes it would dramatically seize control of the Commons agenda to allow MPs to try and rule out no deal by delaying Brexit for up to nine months.
The Government is expected to oppose the idea – meaning it only has a hope of passing if Mr Corbyn orders his MPs to vote for it.
But asked about the plan today he said: ‘No comment. Thank you. Goodbye.’ Mr Corbyn stalked off without further comment.
Labour sources said there would be no official statement on the amendments today.
The Labour leader barked ‘no comment’ at journalists outside his home this morning as he refused to say whether he would back the plan tomorrow night
Mr Corbyn stalked off without further comment after being approached by reporters as he left home this morning
MPs will vote tomorrow night on a series of proposals for next steps after Theresa May’s deal was crushed.
Three other amendments look highly likely to be selected by Mr Bercow after garnering scores of names – and all look on track to be approved by MPs.
No10 has been pleading with MPs not to back a proposal tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper that would pave the way for a law to extend the Article 50 process.
- Tory hardliners ‘shoot down’ No 10-backed amendment that… Theresa May warns rebel Tory MPs not to ‘give blank cheque’…
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Another change put forward by ex-minister Caroline Spelman would try to rule out a no-deal Brexit – although the outcome would not be binding on the government.
A separate move from Tory MP Dominic Grieve would stage a series of ‘indicative’ votes to work out what approach would gain a majority in the Commons.
Mrs May seems to be pinning her hopes on the amendment tabled by 1922 committee chairman Sir Graham Brady, which would demand a rewriting of the controversial backstop.
Speaking on Marr yesterday (pictured), Ms Cooper said she was not seeking to ‘block Brexit’ with her amendment
Ms Cooper’s amendments is likely to carry tomorrow – if Jeremy Corbyn orders his MPs to vote in favour. If Mr Corbyn fails to do so the plan may fail
An alternative plan has been tabled by Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the Tory 1922 Committee, to demand specific changes to the divorce deal – it could be backed by the Government
Speaking on Marr yesterday, Ms Cooper said she was not seeking to ‘block Brexit’ with her amendment.
The former Treasury minister said she was not yet sure if she had the backing of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, nor of some of the Tory frontbench.
On Mr Corbyn she said: ‘I hope he will support it – he obviously needs to make a decision in the normal way.
‘I suppose what I would say to him, to the Prime Minister, to the Government ministers who I think also want to make sure that we don’t have no deal is in the end we can’t… keep waiting for other people to sort this out.
‘We can’t carry on with a kind of game of chicken… That’s not a way to make sensible decisions.
‘In the end someone has to take some responsibility and say: ‘if the Prime Minister runs out of time she may need some more time’ – that is not about blocking Brexit, that is about being responsible and making sure you can get a Brexit deal.’
The amendments and outcomes
Commons is expected to vote tomorrow on amendments including Yvette Cooper’s. The Labour MP is pictured on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday
YVETTE COOPER’S PLAN TO DELAY BREXIT IF THERE IS NOT A DEAL
WHAT IT DOES: Forces ministers to extend Article 50 beyond March 29 to stop No Deal.
WHOSE PLAN? Labour’s Yvette Cooper, former Tory ministers Nick Boles and Sir Oliver Letwin.
HOW IT WORKS: Ministers lose the power to decide what is debated on February 5, which passes to backbench MPs. Miss Cooper proposes a law forcing Mrs May to ask for a delay on Brexit if No Deal is agreed by February 26.
COULD IT SUCCEED? With enough votes from Tory rebels, yes.
DOMINIC GRIEVE’S PLAN TO HAND POWER TO MPS
WHAT IT DOES: Give control over Parliamentary business to MPs.
WHOSE PLAN? Dominic Grieve QC, former attorney general and ardent Remainer, and MPs who want a second referendum.
HOW IT WORKS: Government loses power over the Commons every Tuesday from February 12 to March 26 so backbench MPs could vote on Brexit. Could delay Article 50 or change the deal to include a customs union or second referendum.
COULD IT SUCCEED? Could pass with the support of pro-Remain Tories, Labour backing.
SIR GRAHAM BRADY’S PLAN TO FIX THE BACKSTOP BY DEMANDING CHANGES FROM BRUSSELS
WHAT IT DOES: Proposes replacing the Northern Ireland backstop with ‘alternative arrangements’ to avoid a hard border. Also supports leaving with a deal.
WHOSE PLAN? Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee.
HOW IT WORKS: Allows Mrs May to go to Brussels and say the EU must make concessions on the backstop or get rid of it.
COULD IT SUCCEED? Only if selected by Speaker Bercow – who could ignore it.
DAME CAROLINE SPELMAN’S PLAN TO RULE OUT NO DEAL
WHAT IT DOES: Stops the UK leaving without a deal.
WHOSE PLAN: Former Tory Cabinet minister Caroline Spelman and Labour MP Jack Dromey.
HOW IT WORKS?
Rejects No Deal.
COULD IT SUCCEED? Yes, if enough Tory rebels vote in favour.
JEREMY CORBYN’S PLAN TO FUDGE THE VOTE BY DEMANDING CHANGE BUT HINTING AT A REFERENDUM
WHAT IT DOES: Demands changes to the deal and hints at a second referendum.
WHOSE PLAN? Corbyn, Labour frontbench.
HOW IT WORKS: Ministers must let Parliament discuss No Deal, and proposes staying in a permanent customs union. If that fails, it suggests a second referendum.
COULD IT SUCCEED? Highly unlikely, because it won’t win support from Tory rebels.
What is Tuesday’s Plan B vote and what will it mean?
What is happening?
Because Theresa May’s Brexit deal was defeated, the law says she must tell Parliament what her Plan B is.
This has to be done in a motion to the Commons, which will be voted on by MPs on Tuesday night.
That motion can be re-written by MPs if they table amendments and win a vote in favour of them.
Some amendments have already been tabled and MPs can keep producing them until Monday night.
What does May’s plan say?
It promises more cross-party working, renews commitments to protecting workers’ rights after Brexit and says the PM will ask Brussels for more concessions on the backstop.
It it based on the current deal that was crushed by 230 votes last week.
What do the main amendments say?
Jeremy Corbyn’s amendment says Parliament should vote on ‘options’ including a renegotiation of the deal to get a permanent customs union and for a second referendum.
A cross party amendment from Yvette Cooper and Nicky Morgan seeks to block no deal by giving time to a draft law that would require the Government to delay Brexit if a deal has not been agreed by February 26. It upturns normal convention by putting a backbench MP’s Bill ahead of Government plans.
An amendment from Tory rebel Dominic Grieve seeks to set up weekly debates that would mean regular votes on what to do in the absence a deal. His amendments sets aside six named days for the debates – including as late as March 26.
The Government also appears to be encouraging MPs to back amendment from two senior Tory MPs.
One from Andrew Murrison would effectively set a time limit on the backstop of December 31, 2021.
Another amendments tabled by Sir Graham Brady, chair of the powerful 1922 committee, would effectively eradicate the backstop and demand the EU and UK find other solutions.
Some ministers hope that if these amendment receive strong support it will pile pressure on the EU to make concessions on the backstop – which Brexiteers fear the UK will be stuck in forever, and the DUP believes risks splitting the union.
What would the vote do?
Legally nothing – but if the Commons votes in favour of a clear way forward by a majority it will be a major political signal of what might happen.
Is it a new ‘meaningful vote’ that can approve May’s deal?
No. At some point, the PM will have to stage a repeat of last week’s vote to get explicit approval from MPs to go ahead with her deal if she wants it to survive.
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