A veteran Labour MP launched a scathing attack on the Prime Minister’s conduct, opposition parties ramped up their attempts to topple the Government and two words muttered by Jeremy Corbyn saw him thrust into the centre of a bitter sexism row. Tomorrow marks the final day of Parliamentary business before MPs and peers rise for a two-and-a-half week Christmas break. But as the dust settled after another chaotic day, the PM is no closer to securing a Commons majority for her deeply divisive deal – and Britain is still on course to leave the EU on March 29, 2019 without a Withdrawal Agreement.
Mrs May used the last Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) of 2018 to warn MPs that their Brexit options were simple: either get behind her deal or leave with no deal and fall back on to World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.
But responding to the Prime Minister’s characterisation of her deal, Labour veteran Margaret Becket accused her of a “gross dereliction of duty” in misleading the public.
Speaking during an emergency Commons debate later this afternoon, she warned the public would be furious when the truth was revealed.
Dame Margaret said: “One of the simplest promises the Prime Minister made – vote for my deal and it will all be over – could not be less true.
“It won’t be over, it has barely begun and the worst, the most difficult negotiations are still to come and that will rumble on for years and years.
“I can’t think of anything more likely to make people utterly disillusioned with politics and politicians than realising they have been told you have left the EU when it doesn’t mean any of the things they thought it would mean.”
And Tory MP Jeremy Lefroy, a former trade negotiator, branded those arguing for a no-deal Brexit on WTO rules as “deluded”.
He said: “This idea that somehow if we come out and have no deal that there will be a possibility of negotiating a quick free trade agreement with the EU to replace the great agreement we have at the moment is to my mind ludicrous.
“That will not happen.”
The latest attacks from both the Conservative and opposition benches come as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged Jeremy Corbyn to back a motion of no confidence in a bid to topple Mrs May’s Government.
The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens tabled a vote of no confidence in the UK Government following a meeting yesterday evening.
Ms Sturgeon said the Mr Corbyn’s refusal to table his own motion aimed at bringing down the Government was simply an “excuse” to avoid having to clarify his own position on Brexit policy.
Meanwhile, the Labour leader faced further problems today when he was forced to deny calling Theresa May a “stupid woman”.
Instead of seizing the opportunity to keep focus on the Government’s handling of Brexit, today’s Prime Minister’s Questions was overshadowed by claims Mr Corbyn had made a sexist remark towards Mrs May.
Television cameras picked up the Labour leader saying something to those sat with him after the Prime Minister likened his attempt to force a confidence vote in her to a Christmas pantomime.
After being asked to come back and address MPs he flatly denied using the sexist phrase, telling MPs: “I referred to those who I believe were seeking to turn a debate about the national crisis facing our country into a pantomime as ‘stupid people’.
“I did not use the words ‘stupid woman’ about the Prime Minister or anyone else, and am completely opposed to the use of sexist or misogynist language in absolutely any form at all.”