Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Theresa May in Labour Live jibe after Brexit criticism from Jeremy Corbyn

PMQs was a fiery affair on Wednesday. Credit: PA

Theresa May has mocked Labour over its festival plans after Jeremy Corbyn accused her of seeking a Brexit deal to "appease the clashing giant egos" of her Cabinet.

The Prime Minister accused the Opposition of trying to "frustrate" Brexit before noting that shadow chancellor John McDonnell and the Magic Numbers are among those appearing at Labour Live, adding: "Just about sums them up."

Mr Corbyn pressed Mrs May over Brexit as the pair clashed at Prime Minister's Questions, before it descended into chaos as SNP members walked out.

The Labour leader teased Mrs May over whether she would follow suggestions from Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to allow US President Donald Trump to take over the Brexit talks, before accusing her of delaying pledges linked to Brexit.

  • Watch a fiery PMQs in full

He claimed the PM had delayed the transition from December 2020 until December 2021, something Mrs May dismissed as "quite wrong" as she said the backstop arrangement would come into force if it is not possible to put future customs arrangement in place by January 1 2021.

She added the UK does not want the backstop to be necessary. Mr Corbyn replied: "I'm not really sure whether it's a backstop or backslide she's talking about here."

He pressed the PM on when she would release the Brexit white paper detailing future ambitions, noting that Cabinet Office minister David Lidington had said it would emerge in July.

Asked if she would seek a delay to the June European Council while the Government decides its position, Mrs May said it is not a summit about the Brexit talks but will include many issues such as sanctions against Russia.

She added: "I will be pressing to ensure that we maintain sanctions against Russia because the Minsk agreements have not been put in place, and indeed I think there are some areas where we can be enhancing that sanctions regime."

Mrs May denied Mr Lidington had announced anything different about the white paper's arrival, joking to Mr Corbyn: "After the June European Council is July."

David Lidington Credit: PA

Mrs May criticised "instruction manuals on how to deselect all the Labour MPs" as she sought to highlight divisions among the Opposition.

Mr Corbyn replied by quoting Mr Johnson's warning of a Brexit "meltdown" and criticism of the Treasury as being the "heart of Remain".

He later claimed Mr Johnson "inhabited a parallel universe" in which the referendum result is not respected "unless you want friction at the borders and disruption of the economy".

Mr Corbyn went on: "The Cabinet is divided and they're briefing against each other - they're even whispering during Prime Minister's Question Time, and the Prime Minister has been left with no white paper on which to negotiate.

"Last week the transition period was delayed by a year in the space of 24 hours and yesterday a deal with her backbenchers was reneged on within hours.

"Meanwhile, the economy is weakening and industry is increasingly alarmed at the sheer ineptitude of her Government.

"How much more damage is the Prime Minister going to do to the country before she realises the important thing is to get a deal for the people of this country, not one to appease the clashing giant egos of her Cabinet?"

Mrs May replied: "It's the Labour Party in Opposition which is trying to frustrate Brexit. It is the Labour Party that is trying to stop us getting a deal for the British people."

The PM criticised the previous Labour administration's economic record and defended the Government's approach.

Mrs May went on: "I've heard (Mr Corbyn) is trying to organise a music festival, Labour Live.

"I'll pass over the fact it's going to have a Solidarity Tent which obviously won't have any Labour MPs within it.

"But I have to say to him, I don't know if members of the House are aware of the headline acts at Labour Live?

"The headline acts at Labour Live are the shadow chancellor (John McDonnell) and the Magic Numbers - just about sums them up."