Hoarse PM claims she still understands the country’s voice on Brexit

Theresa May has claimed she still understands the voice of the country on Brexit despite losing her own.

The Prime Minister attempted to make light of her sore throat as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn repeatedly urged her to explain what she plans to do next following a second humiliating Commons defeat for her Brexit deal.

Mr Corbyn argued Mrs May has failed, no longer has the ability to lead, and must change her approach.

But Mrs May said Labour’s proposals have also been rejected by MPs and she noted Mr Corbyn appeared hesitant to back his own party’s policy to move towards a second referendum.

She added at Prime Minister’s Questions: “He has nothing to offer this country.”

Opening the session, Mrs May joked that International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt “very helpfully offered to teach me sign language” – with her Cabinet colleague having previously used it at the despatch box.

Prime Minister’s Questions
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons (PA)

Conservative MP John Baron then pushed Mrs May to back a no-deal Brexit, arguing “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

Mrs May agreed but insisted her deal is a “good deal” and she wants the UK to leave with a good deal.

Mr Corbyn then pressed Mrs May to confirm how she will vote on the no-deal Brexit motion, which seeks to rule out leaving without a Withdrawal Agreement but also notes leaving without a deal remains the default position in UK and EU law.

The PM replied: “I will be voting for the motion in my name.”

Mr Corbyn countered by saying her Brexit strategy is “in tatters” and her deal is “dead”, before criticising Mrs May for having “refused to listen”.

He added: “When will she listen to those workers who are concerned about their jobs, those businesses concerned about their future and accept the case that there has to be a negotiated customs union with the EU?”

Mrs May said a customs union was part of proposals put forward by Labour but argued these had “already been rejected” by MPs.

Mr Corbyn later claimed the Labour alternative is the “credible show in town” which is ready to be negotiated.

But Mrs May said Mr Corbyn repeatedly votes in a way that “brings no-deal closer”, before adding: “I may not have my own voice but I do understand the voice of the country.

“They want to leave the European Union, end free movement, have our own trade policy, ensure laws are made in this country and judged in our courts.

PM’s voice very croaky today ..

— PARLY (@ParlyApp) March 13, 2019

“That’s what the deal delivers, that’s what I continue to work to deliver.

“He used to believe that too, why is he just trying to frustrate it?”

Mr Corbyn, in his reply, said: “I do have sympathy with the Prime Minister on her voice and I hope it soon recovers, I understand how painful this is.”

In his concluding remarks, he said: “The Prime Minister’s deal has failed, she no longer has the ability to lead, this is a rudderless Government in the face of a huge national crisis.”

He added the Commons needs to listen to the country, including workers and EU nationals who are fearful for their futures, saying of Mrs May: “She needs now to show leadership.

“So can the Prime Minister tell us exactly what her plan is now?”

Mrs May reiterated votes are planned on a no-deal Brexit and extending Article 50, adding: “There will be hard choices for this House but this House will need to determine what its view is on the way forward.”

She said the Government will continue to work to leave the EU with a “good deal”, adding on Mr Corbyn: “He doesn’t agree with Government policy, he doesn’t even agree with Labour Party policy.

“He has nothing to offer this country.”