Corbyn: Cabinet negotiations a greater risk to jobs than no-deal Brexit


Jeremy Corbyn has claimed the Prime Minister having to negotiate with her Cabinet to stop it collapsing is a greater risk to jobs than failing to secure a deal in the Brexit negotiations.

The Labour leader said no deal was a "bad deal", but argued that the "real risk" to jobs is Theresa May having to "negotiate round the clock with her own Cabinet to stop it falling apart".

Mr Corbyn highlighted ministerial divisions over Brexit, and alluded to reports that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had dismissed the Brexit concerns of big business by using an "Anglo-Saxon" four-letter expletive.

Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons, Mr Corbyn went on to point to Business Secretary Greg Clark's subsequent rebuke of the comment, asking the Prime Minister "which was her view".

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Mrs May said the Tories had "always been the party that will back business", but did not directly tackle the alleged comments made by Mr Johnson, to which Mr Corbyn said: "I take the Prime Minister's response as a thumbs down to the Foreign Secretary".

And she suggested the Labour leader had a decision to make, either to "back business or he can want to overthrow capitalism - he can't do both".

He later told MPs: "No deal is a bad deal, but isn't the truth that the real risk to jobs in our country is a Prime Minister who is having to negotiate round the clock with her own Cabinet to stop it falling apart, rather than negotiating to defend jobs of workers in this country?"

The Prime Minister defended her Government's record, adding that Britain is a country "fit for the future and leaving the European Union on the 29th of March 2019".

Mr Corbyn raised concerns about potential job losses if there was a no-deal outcome, as he asked Mrs May to reassure workers and take the "phoney threat of no deal off the negotiating table".

Tory MPs cheered as Mrs May replied: "He has raised the question of Airbus, well if he is so concerned about our aerospace and aviation industry, why did he not back the expansion of Heathrow in this chamber?"

And she said: "I don't normally agree with the secretary general of Unite, but on this occasion I actually do agree with him because he says that backing the expansion, the third runway at Heathrow, would ensure our country remains a world leader in aviation and aerospace."

Labour MP Mary Creagh (Wakefield) drew laughs later in the question session when she asked Mrs May if she would "join in congratulating the Foreign Secretary for expressing so pithily what her hard Brexit will do to British jobs and British businesses".

Mrs May responded: "As I have said many times in this House before, we are pursuing a Brexit that will be a good deal for the UK, a good deal for business, a good deal for citizens and a good deal for jobs."