The Prime Minister is considering supporting Labour demands to safeguard workers’ rights using legislation that would enshrine EU standards as the Brexit Day clock ticks louder. With just 78 days to go until the UK leaves the European Union, Mrs May is looking at introducing an amendment that would keep the bloc’s rules on pay and conditions, health and safety and environmental standards. The move comes as the Prime Minister suffered a fifth Commons defeat in less than a month yesterday as Parliament continued to wrestle Mrs May’s deal out of her grasp.
Downing Street hopes the climb down will attract enough Labour MPs to get a Commons majority for the Withdrawal Agreement, which enters its second day of debate today before a vote on Tuesday.
John Mann, a Labour MP in favour of the workers’ rights amendment, suggested the plan could be enough to win over “significant” support for the Prime Minister.
The comment came as backbench rebel Tory MPs plotted with Labour counterparts against their own government.
Remainer Sir Oliver Letwin opened negotiations with shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer last night to ask if the Labour opposition would work with the government if an agreement could be reached on staying in the customs union and single market.
Keeping the UK closer to Europe after March 29 is Labour’s policy and Sir Keir admitted interest in the proposal but indicated he backed a second referendum.
He told The Times: “Obviously, at some stage, if we are to leave other than without a deal there has to be consensus in this House for something.”
Sir Keir said there was strong support in Labour for a People’s Vote and added it “may well be inevitable” that the Prime Minister would have to delay Brexit by pleading with the EU for an Article 50 extension.
It came as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is set to demand a general election as the only “democratic” way to “break the deadlock” in Parliament, during a speech later today.
Tesco’s chief executive has admitted fears over the post-Brexit availability of fresh food as he outlined the firm’s contingency plan to stockpile goods.
Dave Lewis said Tesco is finding it “hard” to plan for short shelf life food because the UK imports half of the fresh food it consumes.
Giving his annual post-Christmas sales update, in which Tesco performed well this festive season, Mr Lewis said: “It’s hard to contingency for fresh food, where we can’t stockpile.”
He added: “Like other retailers, we’d be keen that there is no friction at the border given the UK imports half of the fresh food it eats.”
It’s set to be another busy Brexit day as the fallout from yesterday’s Commons chaos continues.
Boris Johnson will speak in Dublin at 9am.
At 10am, senior Tory rebels will join a cross-party group of MPs at a central London People’s Vote rally in which they will urge colleagues to vote down the Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday.
From 11am, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will demand a general election in a speech during a visit to Yorkshire.
The Brexit deal debate continues from 11.30am in the House of Commons
Theresa May welcomes Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Downing Street today as the pair continue post-Brexit trade deal talks with a press conference planned for 4.15pm.
Meanwhile Jaguar Land Rover is expected to announce plans to cut 5,000 jobs in the UK in a business update later today amid post-Brexit concerns over competitiveness.
Jeremy Corbyn will demand a general election, saying a vote is the only “practical” and “democratic” way to “break the deadlock” on Brexit, in a speech in Yorkshire later today.
The Labour leader will argue he could reopen negotiations and get a better deal than Theresa May’s doomed Withdrawal Agreement if he were Prime Minister.
In reiterating his position that Labour will vote down the Brexit divorce deal next week, Mr Corbyn is expected to say: “If the Government cannot pass its most important legislation, then there must be a general election at the earliest opportunity.
“A government that cannot get its business through the House of Commons is no government at all. So I say to Theresa May: If you are so confident in your deal, call that election, and let the people decide.
“To break the deadlock, an election is not only the most practical option, it is also the most democratic option. It would give the winning party a renewed mandate to negotiate a better deal for Britain and secure support for it in Parliament and across the country.
“For both sides, the EU referendum was about so much more than our relationship with our biggest trading partner and its rules. It was about what’s happened to our people over decades and how to build a better future.
“The need for a government with a clear purpose and direction for the country could not be more urgent. Labour stands ready to bring Leave and Remain voters together to rebuild Britain for the many, not the few.”