05:04 GMT +318 October 2019
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    Puppets of Conservative Party leader Theresa May and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn are seen during a protest against the BBC's broadcast restrictions on the Captain Ska song Liar Liar outside Broadcasting House in London, Britain June 2, 2017.

    May, Corbyn Erupt Into Commons Sparring Match at PMQs, MPs Urge General Election

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    Prime Minister's Questions erupted in a series of surprising comments from several MPs on Wednesday, with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn urging UK prime minister Theresa May to call a general election if her deal is rejected next Tuesday.

    Mr. Corbyn struck first by slamming the Prime Minister for scrapping the December Brexit vote and promising "legally binding assurances" at the December EU summit. "Isn’t the prime minister bringing back exactly the same deal that she admitted would be defeated four weeks ago," Mr. Corbyn asked. 

    The EU council meeting concluded that "further clarification on the backstop is possible" and talks would continue “over the next few days”, PM May said. The Cabinet also published a package to give Northern Ireland a “strong voice and role” as negotiations proceeded to the next stage, she added.

    Mr. Corbyn then accused PM May of wasting £4.2 bn on no-deal planning, calling it a "costly charade," adding that the House rejected all no-deal Brexit scenarios Tuesday evening after the government’s Finance Bill was defeated for the first time since 1978.  

    But Mrs. May reaffirmed that her Cabinet had negotiated a deal that protected jobs and it was “absolutely sensible” for the government to prepare for a no-deal Brexit scenario. 

    Mr. Corbyn hit back, calling the Prime Minister’s reply "window-dressing" and accusing her of achieving little in her discussions with the EU, adding that the country had been “held ransom” by a “no-deal threat”. 

    He also addressed scandal, where UK transport secretary Chris Grayling awarded £13.8mn to UK ferry firm Seaborne to freight goods in a no-deal scenario. However, the firm owned no ships. “This is the degree of incompetence of this government in dealing the whole question of relations with the EU,” he said. 

    READ MORE: 'No Deal' Brexit Ferry Firm Given US$18 Million by Government Owns No Ships

    He also accused Mrs. May of “begging” EU ministers for assurances which “achieved nothing”, in addition to demanding a general election if Parliament votes down her draft deal.

    “If her deal is defeated,” Mr. Corbyn continued, “will the prime minister do the right thing and let the people have a real say and call a general election?”

    However, Mrs. May hit back, stating that Mr. Corbyn was inconsistent and that “his Brexit policies were the many and not the few”.

    Comments From MPs

    Commons remained divided over the Prime Ministers stance, with Huw Merriman MP backing the deal next Tuesday and others calling for Mrs. May to resign. MPs will debate over the next five days on the Irish backstop and "meaningful" Brexit vote, which many expect MPs will overwhelmingly vote down.

    Parliamentary defeats were now “a regular feature” of PM May’s administration, Scottish Nationalist Party MP Pete Wishart said, adding that “her deal is as dead as the deadest dodo.”

    “For goodness sake, just go,” he shouted.

    READ MORE: Transatlantic Chaos Reaches UK as MPs Threaten Government Shutdown Over Brexit 

    Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran then accused the Prime Minister of steering Brexit "in Russia’s geopolitical interests”, stating that Russian president Vladimir Putin had “parroted” Mrs. May’s words on not holding a second referendum to “fulfil the will of the [British] people”.  

    “Who’s side is this Prime Minister on,” she said. “Putin or the people?”

    The May Administration suffered the first major defeat on Tuesday evening after MPs voted 303 to 296 in favour of a Finance Bill aimed at curbing government taxation powers should the current Cabinet choose to leave the EU without authorisation from Parliament. The Finance Bill, known as the Cooper Amendment, will also require parliamentary approval on a Brexit deal or decision to extend Article 50. 

    Twenty Tory MPs mutinied against Mrs. May's Cabinet, including former Cabinet ministers Michael Fallon, Justine Greening, Dominic Grieve, Oliver Letwin, and Ken Clark. Seven bills await approval before the March 29 deadline, including financial services, fisheries, immigration, healthcare, trade, and the trade agreement itself.


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