PMQs: May faces Corbyn after new free vote concession to Brexiters ahead of no-deal debate – Politics live – The Guardian
Hammond says no-deal Brexit would lead to lower growth, high unemployment and higher prices
In his spring statement Philip Hammond, the chancellor, says that if there is a Brexit deal, he will launch a three-year spending review before the summer.
But he says a no-deal Brexit would deliver “a significant short to medium-term reduction in the productive capacity of the the British economy”.
He says it would lead to lower growth, higher unemployment and higher prices.
During PMQs Theresa May accused Jeremy Corbyn of not referring to Labour’s second referendum commitment in the Commons yesterday.
Labour’s Dawn Butler has accused her of lying, because Corbyn did refer to the policy in his main speech.
But, as HuffPost’s Paul Waugh points out, May seemed to be referring to the fact that Corbyn did not mention a public vote in his statement to MPs after May’s deal was defeated.
PMQs is now over. And Philip Hammond, the chancellor, is about to deliver his spring statement.
I will cover any Brexit-related news from the statement, but our main coverage of the statement will be on my colleague Graeme Wearden’s business live blog.
The Tory MP Alberto Costa says the media call his place a failing parliament. But there was nothing failing when it passed his amendment on the rights of British citizens in the EU three weeks ago. What has May done to get EU leaders to agree to this?
May says she has spoken to a number of EU leaders about this.
Mark Pawsey, a Conservative, asks about Rugby council’s housebuilding programme. May says she is please to hear it is providing more homes.
Mark Francois, the Tory Brexiter, says on 29 January the Commons, and most Tory MPs, voted for the Brady amendment (saying the backstop should be replaced). Brady was designed to facilitate the Malthouse compromise. If the Malthouse compromise amendment is called later, will Tories get a free vote, and how will May herself vote?
May says she addressed this earlier. (See 12.33pm.) She says her agreement with the EU says alternative arrangements for the backstop should be worked up. That is what Malthouse was asking for, she says.
The Tory MP David Tredinnick asks May if Labour should allow a free vote on no deal tonight.
May says it would be better if all MPs had a free vote.
The Tory MP Peter Bone asked May about the Malthouse compromise amendment. In her response, May said the government had already accepted two of its four demands (1 and 4 – see 11.22am for the full text) and that MPs were getting a vote on an article 50 extension. But on the key demand (number 3), she said it was unacceptable to the EU.
PMQs – Snap verdict
PMQs – Snap verdict: Profoundly uninspiring. There are times when a nation is in crisis when parliamentarians rise to the occasion. But there was no sign of that in those PMQs exchanges. Jeremy Corbyn was absolutely right, of course, when he said that Theresa May’s plan has been decisively rejected, but he did not get very far in challenging May to adopt Labour’s plan and he sounded relatively unengaged considering the seriousness of what’s at stake. Although he highlighted some of the horrors of a no-deal Brexit, if anything he probably understated the potential problems, and he sounded less passionate about the extent of the mess than he does when he is talking about issues like, say, homelessness or poverty. He restated the case for Labour’s Brexit, but he did not sound like someone poised to drive it through the House of Commons. But he had a a better case than May who, partly because of her problems with her voice, was literally pitiful. She had a carefully crafted soundbite (I may have lost my voice, but I understand the voice of the country), but it was not enough to restore her credibility. In the past May has frequently accused Corbyn of wanting to stop Brexit (a surprise to those who have actually studied his record.) But, interestingly, today she seemed to have dropped that line of attack, criticising him at one point for not restating his referendum policy yesterday and at another point highlighting his own Eurosceptic credentials.
Corbyn says Owen Paterson said during the referendum “Only a madman would leave the single market.” With May’s deal decisively rejected, what is May now for. Labour’s plan is the only credible show in town.
May says Corbyn says he opposes no deal, but he votes to bring it closer. Labour’s plan has been rejected several times by this house. She says she may not have her own voice, but she understands the voice of the country. People want to leave the EU, end free movement, have their own trade policy, and ensure laws are made in UK courts. Corbyn used to believe in this too. Why is he now against it?
Corbyn says May no longer has the ability to lead. It is rudderless. He says, where the PM has failed, the house needs to listen to the country. He says British citizens face uncertainty. May needs to show leadership. So what is her plan?
May says MPs will vote on no deal today, and then on extending article 50 tomorrow if no deal is rejected. MPs have to make choices. He says Corbyn does not agree with government policy, or even Labour policy. He has nothing to offer this country.
Corbyn says the CBI have described a no-deal Brexit as as sledgehammer to the economy. Manufacturing is now in recession. May’s deal has been decisively rejected. When will May accept that there must be a negotiated customs union with the EU.
May says the CBI says Labour’s policies would lead to a drop in living standards. Corbyn claims to be in favour of a second referendum. But he did not even refer to that last night.
Corbyn says May’s answer will not reassure people worried about their jobs. Food producers are also in despair. Will she now back close alignment to the single market to back their industry?
May says her deal does include access to the EU on the basis of no tariffs. It would help if Corbyn had read it.
Jeremy Corbyn also sends his condolences to those affected by the crash in Ethiopia.
He says May says the only choice is between her deal and no deal. Last night her deal was finished off. And she will not whip her MPs on no deal. How will she vote?
May says she will vote for the government motion.
- May confirms she will vote to rule out a no-deal Brexit on 29 March.
Corbyn asks why May is still ambivalent about a no-deal outcome.
May says she wants a deal. Businesses want that too. One thing they worry about more than no deal is a Corbyn government.