Jeremy Corbyn refuses to join Brexit meeting with party leaders 'because Chuka Umunna was there'

Jeremy Corbyn has refused to join in a Brexit meeting with opposition leaders because his former Labour colleague Chuka Umunna was there representing The Independent Group, ITV News understands.

Mr Umunna, who is spokesperson for the newly formed Independent Group, told ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand how the Labour leader's behaviour was "extraordinary" and "certainly not leadership".

Meanwhile the Labour Party insisted that Mr Corbyn did not attend the meeting because it was not the one that "had been agreed" with the Prime Minister and "the terms were broken".

The cross-party meeting had been arranged by Theresa May ahead of a Brexit announcement.

Mr Umunna said: "Jeremy Corbyn was waiting in the corridor with other opposition group representatives to go into the meeting with the Prime Minister and refused to attend the meeting because I was there on behalf of the Independent Group of MPs."

Jeremy Corbyn refused to attend the meeting because a representative from The Independent Group was there. Credit: PA

He said he was informed by Mrs May that Mr Corbyn had declined to attend because of his presence.

He added: "I find it extraordinary behaviour when we're in a national crisis and representatives from different political groups should of course be talking together with the Prime Minister to find a way out of this."

A Labour Party spokesperson said the leader did not attend the meeting because it was not the one that "had been agreed and the terms were broken".

The spokesperson added: "We are in discussions with Number 10 about holding the bilateral meeting with the PM that Jeremy proposed at PMQs."

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, who also attended the meeting said: "That is rather a strange way to behave in a national crisis."

SNP MP Stewart McDonald told Mr Corbyn to "get a grip" after his refusal to engage, by writing on Twitter: "I mean honestly, nine days until the country he wants to be Prime Minister of leaves the EU and Jeremy Corbyn has gone full 'you can't sit with us'."

On what was actually discussed in the meeting, Mr Umunna, echoed other party leaders by saying Mrs May offered "nothing particularly new".

Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts said the meeting between opposition was just a "tick box exercise".

ITV News understands those in attendance at the meeting stressed to the Prime Minister and her chief whip that they would only back her deal subject to People’s Vote.