Corbyn urges general election to break Brexit 'deadlock'
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ramped up calls on Thursday for a general election to "break the deadlock" over Brexit.
Speaking to Labour activists at an electrical products manufacturer in Wakefield, Corbyn argued that a newly elected government would have a fresh mandate to negotiate an improved withdrawal deal with the EU and break the current state of gridlock.
The Labour Party is expected to vote against Theresa May’s withdrawal deal on Tuesday and, if the proposals are defeated, move towards triggering a general election.
"A government that cannot get its business through the Commons is no government at all. It has lost its mandate so must go to the country to seek another," said Corbyn.
Corby added that if a general election was not triggered, all options remained on the table, including a second referendum that has already been endorsed by the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and some Labour and Conservative MPs.
However, some Leave-supporting backbench Labour MPs are understood to have spoken to Downing Street about supporting May’s deal if environmental standards and worker’s rights can be guaranteed.
Business Secretary Ken Clark said: "I am sure that there will be some assurances that some colleagues need and some amendments... but that is the process of Parliament coming together and I hope that is what will happen."
But Commons Speaker John Bercow said that as no amendments to May’s deal had been selected so far, he would decide which ones would be put to a vote on Tuesday.
Citibank economists said: “If MPs cannot force the government into a softer Brexit with amendments for an extension of Article 50 TEU, revocation, new negotiations, or a second referendum, or by blocking and amending other legislation, Parliament could withdraw confidence in the government and force new elections.”
They added that they now saw the likelihood of the UK leaving the EU by the current 29 March deadline as having been diminished, while remaining in the union had become more likely.