Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn calls for vote on Westminster Brexit deal to be brought forward

Jeremy Corbyn called on Theresa May to recall parliament a week early on January 2. Picture by Jane Barlow/PA Wire

JEREMY Corbyn has urged Theresa May to cut the Christmas recess short and recall parliament so MPs can vote on her Brexit deal.

The Labour leader said he wanted to have a vote "as soon as possible" and accused the prime minister of trying to "run down the clock" and offer MPs a choice between "the devil or the deep blue sea".

In an interview with The Independent, Mr Corbyn refused to be drawn on whether Labour would seek to extend Article 50 to keep the UK in the EU for longer, saying: "Lots of things are possible, the EU has long form on reopening and extending negotiations, but let's not jump too many hoops when we haven't arrived at them."

MPs are due to return to Westminster on January 7 after a two-week Christmas break and will begin a new debate on Mrs May's deal on January 9 - with a vote expected to take place the following week.

Mr Corbyn said it was in Mrs May's hands whether she should recall parliament a week early.

"I want us to have a vote as soon as possible, that's what I've been saying for the past two weeks, and if that means recalling parliament to have the vote let's have it," he said.

"But it looks to me the government has once again reneged on that and tried to put it back another week.

A Downing Street source labelled Mr Corbyn's call a "silly demand", and said: "Following debate in the commons, in the week commencing January 14 MPs will vote on the Brexit deal.

"Instead of making silly demands, Jeremy Corbyn should be honest with voters that he has no alternative plan, and only intends to frustrate Brexit - ultimately betraying the referendum result."

His comments came as John McDonnell dismissed the idea of an indicative vote to find which Brexit options MPs would be prepared to support if the prime minister's deal is rejected.

The shadow chancellor told the Financial Times such a move would "run the clock down even further towards March 29", when Britain is due to leave the EU.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he believes the Irish border backstop is the only "outstanding issue" on Brexit, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I believe it is soluble (sic)."

He added: "The EU has agreed that the backstop is temporary and what we need them to do is define what temporary is," he said.

"So my view is this is not the time to be talking about what other major changes we might be faced with making because actually we can get this through."

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