The Prime Minister is kicking off her campaign to secure backing for her Brexit deal ahead of the House of Commons vote next month after EU leaders approved the plan at a Brussels summit on Sunday. Labour ministers will meet Mrs May’s deputy David Lidington and chief of staff Gavin Barwell for the private briefing at 8pm. But leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised the move.
Speaking to Politics Home, Mr Rees-Mogg insisted it “smacks of desperation”.
It comes as more than 80 Tory MPs have publicly rejected Mrs May’s deal, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also said his party will vote against it.
And the DUP – who Mrs May relies on for her Commons majority – is also set to oppose it.
Labour MPs took to Twitter to ridicule the planned briefing.
Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said: “Hope this is as good as the last briefing – Boris Johnson resigned. You can’t buy that kind of entertainment…”
And Andrew Gwynne, Denton and Reddish MP, added: “Do we get Knighthoods for attending? Asking for a friend.”
Mrs May urged ministers to get behind her Brexit deal as she addressed the Commons this afternoon.
The Prime Minister said: “There is a choice which this house will have to make. We can back this deal … or this house can choose to reject this deal and go back to square one.
“Because no-one knows what would happen if this deal doesn’t pass, it would open the door to more division and more uncertainty, with all the risks that will entail.”
But Mr Corbyn branded the Prime Minister’s deal the “worst of all worlds”.
The Labour leader said: “The botched deal is a bad deal for this country, and all yesterday did was mark the end of this Government’s failed and miserable negotiations.
“There can be no doubt that this deal would leave us with the worst of all worlds: no say over future rules and no certainty for the future.”
New Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay – who was appointed earlier this month following the resignation of Dominic Raab – admitted that the upcoming Commons vote would be “challenging”.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Barclay said: “Well, it’s going to be a challenging vote.
“But it’s now the job of all of us in Cabinet to make the case to our colleagues, make the case to the country.
“The Prime Minister, after two years working day and night in the national interest, has secured a deal that respects the referendum result, and does so in a way that also protects jobs, that also gives security to EU citizens.”