May ready to reach out after crushing Brexit defeat, says Leadsom

Senior ministers have insisted Theresa May is committed to reaching out across party lines to build a Brexit consensus following the crushing defeat of her plan for leaving the EU.

The Prime Minister faces a Commons vote of no confidence after seeing her deal with Brussels overwhelmingly rejected by MPs in the House on Tuesday.

While she is expected to survive the latest attack on her premiership, Labour warned she was in danger of scuppering efforts to find a new way forward before they had even started.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Rebel Tory MPs, who helped deliver a massive 230 majority against the Withdrawal Agreement, made clear that they would back the Government in the vote on the no-confidence motion tabled by Jeremy Corbyn, as did Mrs May’s allies in the DUP.

However MPs from both the Leave and Remain wings of the party warned that she would have to accept major changes to her Brexit plan if she was to stand any chance of winning the backing of Parliament.

Following the vote on Tuesday evening, the Prime Minister said she wanted to hold talks with senior parliamentarians to try to find an agreed way forward ahead of a fresh statement to the House on Monday.

Brexit
Brexit

However shadow chancellor John McDonnell complained that she had not invited Mr Corbyn or any of the other party leaders for talks.

After Downing Street said she remained committed to securing an “independent trade policy” – effectively ruling out a customs union which Labour supports – he warned the discussions may not even get off the ground.

“She is now laying conditions down about those discussions which look as though they will prevent any discussion of a permanent customs union,” Mr McDonnell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“That is what most of the other opposition parties support so she seems to be negating the discussions before they have even started.”

The Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom said Mrs May was committed to meeting with MPs who were committed to “constructively” delivering on the EU referendum vote.

Brexit
Brexit

However she said Mr Corbyn had failed to produce any positive proposals and was simply seeking to “disrupt” the Government by trying to force a general election at a crucial time for the country .

“I don’t think she has written him off at all but he needs to come to the table and tell us what he wants to do,” she told the Today programme.

“He has not put forward any specific constructive proposal and that is a problem, which is why the Prime Minister will be engaging right across the House with those who do have very sincerely held views but want to constructively deliver on what the vast majority of parliamentarians voted for.”