Tory MPs use PMQs to demand Theresa May renegotiates her Brexit deal

Theresa May faced Tory demands to renegotiate her Brexit deal at Prime Minister’s Questions, as Jeremy Corbyn also warned the agreement was “dead”.

Brexiteer Andrew Rosindell told the Prime Minister he was “deeply unhappy” with the withdrawal agreement and urged her to lead the country in a new direction by “completely cutting away the tentacles” of the EU.

Neil Parish, chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, also warned the Irish border backstop “threatens the integrity of the UK” and advised Mrs May to listen to concerns raised by MPs.

The pointed remarks came during PMQs as Mr Corbyn pushed Mrs May over the detail of her plans although the PM countered by claiming the Labour leader had not read the draft Brexit deal, adding: “Never mind a second referendum, he hasn’t got a first clue.”

Opening PMQs, Mr Rosindell said: “I agree with the people of Romford who are deeply unhappy by the proposed EU deal, which they believe does not represent the Brexit they voted for.

“Will she now, even at this late stage, please think again and instead lead our country in a new direction completely cutting away the tentacles of the EU over our cherished island nation once and for all?”

Mrs May responded by saying her deal delivered on the promises of Brexit and ensured a continued close trading relationship with the EU.

Mr Corbyn began by referencing comments from Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd that no-deal could be prevented by Parliament.

He said: “A number of Government ministers have confirmed this morning that leaving the EU with no-deal is not an option, does the Prime Minister agree there are no circumstances under which Britain would leave with no-deal?”

Mrs May responded: “The point that has been made by a number of my colleagues in relation to the vote that will come before this House on a meaningful vote on a deal from the European Union is very simple.

“If you look at the alternative to having that vote with the European Union it will either be more uncertainty, more division or it could risk no Brexit at all.”

Mr Corbyn argued the PM did not answer the question before saying Mrs May’s “idea of taking back control of our money is to hand the EU a blank cheque” and added the UK would have no rebate after 2020.

The Prime Minister hit back by claiming Mr Corbyn “hasn’t even read” the draft Brexit deal and also criticised his interpretation of it.

Mr Corbyn said the Government had got Britain into this “shambles” before repeating Labour has not ruled out all options.

Concluding his remarks, Mr Corbyn labelled the deal a “failure” and told the Commons: “It fails the Prime Minister’s red lines, fails Labour’s six tests, and it fails to impress the new Northern Ireland minister (John Penrose), who just hours before he was appointed said the deal is ‘dead’.

“Instead of giving confidence to the millions of people who voted both Leave and Remain, this half-baked deal fails to give any hope that it can bring the country together again.

“Isn’t it the case that Parliament will rightly reject this bad deal, and if the Government can’t negotiate an alternative then it should make way for those who can and will.”

Mrs May replied: “He is opposing a deal he hasn’t read, he’s promising a deal he can’t negotiate, he’s telling Leave voters one thing and Remain voters another – whatever (Mr Corbyn) will do, I will act in the national interest.”

Tory Mr Parish later told the PM: “I am a great supporter of yours and I accept what a difficult and tough job you have.

“The Northern Irish backstop threatens the integrity of the UK and weakens our negotiating position and my farming instincts tell me you do not hand over £39 billion before you get a deal.

“Please can I ask you to listen to these concerns and renegotiate the deal before you put it onto the floor of this House?”

DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds later accused the Prime Minister of “deleting” previous assurances over the Irish border issue.

He said: “In the December joint report agreed between the European Union and the United Kingdom it was agreed that Northern Ireland would have the final say on whether or not it diverged from the UK single market and was subjected to single market European rules with no say, why has the Prime Minister deleted all reference to that in the withdrawal agreement.

“Did she push the delete button?”

Mrs May responded saying he was “absolutely right” about the December report, but added: “The December joint report referred to a decision being taken by the Northern Ireland Executive and Northern Ireland Assembly which sadly we do not have in place today.”