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  1. ITV Report

Theresa May launches 'bold' new Brexit plan after facing calls to resign at Prime Minister's Questions

Theresa May has formally launched her "bold" new Brexit deal to the House of Commons, after facing calls to resign during Prime Minister's Questions.

The incumbent Conservative leader faced criticism from all sides of Parliament - including from her backbenchers - who called on her to pull the new Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

Mrs May said her new deal - which offers MPs the possibility of holding another referendum - was designed to break the impasse in the Commons.

She added it left MPs with a choice - deliver on the result of the referendum, or risk missing out on Brexit altogether.

Mrs May said: "In time another prime minister will be standing at this despatch box.

"But while I am here, I have a duty to be clear with the House about the facts.

"If we are going to deliver Brexit in this Parliament we are going to have to pass a Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

"And we will not do so without holding votes on the issues that have divided us the most - that includes votes on customs arrangements and on a second referendum."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to give his support to Mrs May's deal. Credit: PA

Immediately after delivering her plea for MPs to back her deal, Jeremy Corbyn and the DUP's Nigel Dodds refused to give her their backing.

Without the support of either Labour or the DUP, the chances of Mrs May's bill passing hangs by a thread.

Speaking shortly after Mrs May's statement, Mr Corbyn said the new deal is "little more than a repackaged version" of her deal which has already been rejected three times.

Mr Corbyn said: "The rhetoric may have changed but the deal has not."

He added that Mrs May offered no change on a customs union, single market alignment nor on environmental protections.

He went on: "This Government is too weak, too divided to get this country out of the mess that they have created."

Corbyn added Labour MPs could not trust Mrs May's Brexit deal, as her resignation would mean "no compromise would survive the Tory leadership election".

  • During PMQs Mrs May faced calls to resign

Former Brexit minister David Jones said: "Introduction of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would be ... a futile, Quixotic exercise. We simply haven't the time to waste. Bin it."

Despite seemingly pledging her support for Mrs May's deal, former Conservative minister Nicky Morgan urged Mrs May to reconsider putting the bill to Parliament.

Mrs May refused to back down, saying the vote represents a simple choice between delivering the Brexit vote and not.

She replied: "There are people who are telling me I compromised too much in the package that's been put forward and others telling me I have not compromised enough.

She added: "At some stage the House has to come together and we have to decide the distance will we go together in order to deliver Brexit."

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said "time was up" for Mrs May and that she was "fooling no-one but herself" with her Brexit deal, adding Scotland, Labour and her own party did not want the deal.

He added: "Her customs union compromise already dismissed by the EU, isn't this new deal just a fantasy?"

Theresa May will launch her final pitch for her Brexit deal in the House of Commons during Prime Minister's Questions. Credit: PA

However the reaction to her proposals has been mixed, with a number of Conservative backbench MPs refusing to back her.

Many of Mrs May's key ministers were missing from Prime Minister's Questions and there was a muted atmosphere in the Commons chamber.

During her impassioned plea for MPs to back her Brexit deal, many Conservative MPs who had been on the backbenches had left the Chamber.

Defending her Brexit plan, she said it would offer MPs the chance to decide on key issues including customs arrangements.

"Allowing the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill will enable this House to come to a decision on that issue.

"It will also allow the House to come to a decision on a second referendum, which I continue to believe would not be the right route for this country to go down.

"We should deliver on the first referendum before suggesting anything about a second."

The Conservative leader said she has met Labour's demands in an altered deal, although Corbyn ruled out supporting her deal.

One of the main sticking points between Mrs May and Mr Corbyn was the arrangement of a customs union deal.

While the Labour leader wants to remain in a permanent customs union with the EU, Mrs May is keen to ensure the arrangement is only temporary. This would give the UK the power to strike its own trade agreements were it to leave the customs unions.