The Labour leader cited the Prime Minister’s “failure” to allow MPs to vote on her Withdrawal Agreement last week as planned or this week before Parliament rises for Christmas as his reasons for demanding a vote. Mr Corbyn had threatened to table the motion earlier today, with reports suggesting he was planning to demand a confidence vote unless Mrs May confirmed exactly when MPs would have a say on her Brexit deal. However he made no mention of it in his initial response to Mrs May which came just moments after the Prime Minister revealed the Commons ‘meaningful vote’ would take place in mid-January.
But following a lengthy debate in the Commons this afternoon, the Labour leader went ahead with his plan anyway.
He told MPs: “It’s very clear that it’s bad, unacceptable that we should be waiting almost a month before we have a meaningful vote on the crucial issue facing the future of this country.
“The Prime Minister has obdurately refused to ensure a vote took place on the date she agreed, she refuses to allow a vote to take place this week and is now, I assume, thinking the vote will be on January 14 – almost a month away.
“This is unacceptable in any way whatsoever.”
His motion reads: “This house has no confidence in the Prime Minister due to her failure to allow the House of Commons to have a meaningful vote straight away on the Withdrawal Agreement and framework for future relationships between the UK and the European Union.”
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But because Mr Corbyn’s motion is directed at Mrs May and not the Government, it will have far less impact as the result of a confidence vote against the PM non-binding and is therefore largely symbolic.
The Government will also have the final say over when and if Mr Corbyn’s vote takes place.
However it is understood that if Downing Street refuses to allow it to go ahead before Christmas, Labour will escalate its motion from a no confidence vote in Mrs May to a binding vote on the Government.
The Labour leader’s shock announcement came at the end of a three-hour Brexit debate in which Mr Corbyn slated Mrs May for her handling of the vote on her Brexit deal.
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It had been scheduled to take place on December 11 but was postponed at the last minute in the face of certain defeat.
But the Labour leader said the vote should have been held before Christmas, accusing Mrs May of “dither and delay”.
He told her: “A responsible prime minister would, for the good of this country, put this deal before the House this week so we could move on from this Government’s disastrous negotiation”
The Opposition claimed that Mr Corbyn’s pressure had forced the Prime Minister to bring her deal back to Parliament, an assertion Downing Street said was “incorrect”.
Meanwhile, Mrs May warned MPs to either get behind her deal or risk no deal.
She told the Commons no other terms would “miraculously appear” if her unpopular deal is rejected.
She said: “I know this is not everyone’s perfect deal. It is a compromise.
“But if we let the perfect be the enemy of the good, we risk leaving the EU with no deal.”