Last Tuesday night Theresa May lost the vote on her Brexit deal by 432 votes to 202. It’s the biggest defeat by a Prime Minister in Commons history.
The next day, Jeremy Corbyn called a no-confidence vote in the Government. It failed.
Now, Theresa May wants MPs to vote on a deal that’s barely different to the one we already rejected.
Neither of them are facing reality.
I spoke to the PM on Wednesday night after the failed confidence vote. I told her MPs won’t accept a tweaked deal. She needs a mandate from the people, now that we know what Brexit actually means. You can read the letter I sent her below:
I appreciate the opportunity to have had a proper conversation with you about our views on the way forward on Brexit and my colleagues have had a useful discussion with yours about the practicalities of a referendum and its timing. We have followed up the discussions with a note to David Lidington setting out our views on how a People’s Vote could be organised quickly.
Our positions are, at first sight, far apart. But I reiterate the point that, as it currently stands, your plan has been emphatically rejected by parliament; but it would have a 50:50 chance of succeeding if put to the country against the option of remaining in the EU.
Moreover, the most plausible way of introducing the option of a referendum would be in the form of a government resolution to parliament seeking approval of your plan, subject to a referendum. Opposition parties would be asked to vote with the government to break the deadlock and return the issue to the people. Providing a People’s Vote were built firmly into the resolution, the Liberal Democrats would respond positively.
If the government cooperates with the 150 plus declared supporters of a People’s Vote (and many more who are undeclared) there would be more than enough votes to succeed even if Mr Corbyn continues to sit on the fence or oppose.
The next step, sought by some of your colleagues as well as the opposition parties for a variety of reasons, is postponement of the departure date to consider other options and averting the dire prospect of a ‘no deal’ Brexit for which the country is patently unprepared. You have clearly not reached that point but will need to do so for serious discussions with opposition parties to make headway.
My party is ready to resume discussions at any time and communication can be maintained through the usual channels.
The same applies to Jeremy Corbyn – until the DUP shift their stance, confidence votes are a waste of time. He needs to listen to his own MPs, members and voters – it’s time for Labour to back a people’s vote.
We’ll continue to take every opportunity to persuade more MPs to back a people’s vote. Will you sign our petition calling for Parliament to give the people the final say on Brexit?