Corbyn accuses May of trying to blackmail Labour MPs over Brexit deal vote

Jeremy Corbyn has accused the Prime Minister of trying to “blackmail” Labour MPs into backing her EU Withdrawal Agreement by threatening chaos if the UK crashes out without a deal.

But the Labour leader said Theresa May had failed to persuade his MPs, declaring: “The Labour Party will not be held to ransom.”

Addressing the Parliamentary Labour Party on the eve of the crucial vote, Mr Corbyn predicted that Mrs May’s deal would be defeated and said the country should then have a general election.

“Theresa May’s deal is a bad deal for our country,” said the Labour leader.

“It fails to meet the needs of millions of our constituents facing deep insecurity and stress from a lack of good jobs, inadequate housing and chronic under-investment in their communities and futures.

“Theresa May has attempted to blackmail Labour MPs to vote for her botched deal by threatening the country with the chaos of no-deal.

“I know from conversations with colleagues that this has failed.

“The Labour Party will not be held to ransom.

“When the Prime Minister’s deal is defeated, she will only have herself to blame.

“She has spent two years negotiating with her Cabinet and her bickering backbenchers instead of the EU, shutting out trade unions, businesses and Parliament from the process.

“The Tory Party’s botched deal will be rejected by Parliament.

“We will then need an election to have the chance to vote for a government that can bring our people together and address the deep-seated issues facing our country.”