‘MY JOB is to get the best deal, Parliament must then examine it and do what is in the national interest,’ Tory PM Theresa May told the CBI business conference yesterday, trying to sell the capitalists her Brexit deal.
CBI president John Allan called for MPs to back May’s deal despite it not being ‘perfect’. He warned of the consequences for businesses and the economy if the UK were to ‘simply crash out of the EU’.
May continued in her speech: ‘And I know what that deal needs to do; deliver on the referendum vote by giving us control of our borders, laws and money. ‘Get the UK out of the common agricultural policy and the common fisheries policy. ‘Set us on course for a prosperous future, where livelihoods are protected our security maintained, and our union secured.
‘It was never going to be easy or straightforward and the final stage was always going to be the toughest.’ She insisted: ‘We have in view a deal that will work for the UK and let no-one be in any doubt that I am determined to deliver it.’
During questions one delegate, Roger Kendrick, representing a company called Brittania, stood up and said: ‘Prime Minister, on Sunday you signed a withdrawal agreement, and that agreement is going to lock us into the EU regulation on a permanent basis unless the EU agrees otherwise …
‘… So can I ask you to think again about the economics of the whole thing, rather than listening to the petitioning of the CBI, which is really the Confederation of European Industry.’
The CBI was later also addressed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. In the contribution he failed to say whether Labour MPs would be supporting or opposing PM May’s position in the forthcoming parliamentary vote. He said: ‘A good Brexit plan for this country is not just about what can be negotiated with Brussels, it must also include a radical programme of investment and real change across our regions and nations …
‘… Deep-seated change is needed to avoid a damaging Brexit that will hurt enterprise, jobs and living standards, and instead use it as a catalyst for economic transformation.
‘… Labour is ready to lead that change and I invite you to join us to make that change together to rebuild our economy and our country so it really does work for the many, not the few.’
Meanwhile, on Sunday the Scottish nationalist Leader Nicola Sturgeon offered Labour a common front in the House of Commons to vote down May’s Brexit deal and push for a second referendum vote. Speaking on the Andrew Marr show Sturgeon declared: ‘I’m ready to strike a deal with Labour.’
Sturgeon said she hopes to meet Labour leaders this week to agree on a joint alternative to May’s Brexit plan. She said there was ‘still time to keep Britain in the single market and customs union’.
Sturgeon said: ‘If the House of Commons says we want to go down the road of single market and customs union membership, we want more time to take this back to the people of the UK in another vote, we need an extension of Article 50 – if there is a clear change of direction, then I believe the EU 27 would be prepared to look at that.
‘But that means those who don’t want this deal coming together. Those who don’t think the Prime Minister’s deal is the right way to go have a responsibility to come together and coalesce around an alternative.’ Sturgeon said she was keen to talk to Labour leader Corbyn ‘and whoever else’ when she visits London in the coming days.