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UK News Desk

May uses ‘high noon’ Cabinet to set a summer deadline for passing her deal and stepping down

May uses ‘high noon’ Cabinet to set a summer deadline for passing her deal and stepping down – as new poll puts Labour NINE POINTS ahead of Tories, making Corbyn favourite for next PM

  • If a general election was held Labour would grab 34 per cent of the vote
  • New poll shows Tories are at 25 per cent – down from 41 per cent in March
  • Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party hoovers up 10 per cent despite launching weeks ago 

Theresa May has indicated that she will quit before the Commons breaks up for the summer if she can get MPs to agree to a Brexit deal.

As the Conservatives continue to leak voters to Nigel Farage‘s Brexit Party, the Prime Minister’s spokesman today said she wanted a deal done before the Commons rises for its summer recess in July. 

It came as a shock new poll gave Labour a nine-point lead over the Tories that would be enough to install Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10 at a general election.

Mrs May hosted a lengthy Cabinet meeting in Downing Street this morning featuring a host of ministers already vying to replace her as party leader amid an increasing clamour for her to set out an exit date.

Ministers agreed to continue Brexit talks with Labour but acknowledged it was ‘imperative’ to get withdrawal legislation through Parliament before the summer break, Downing Street said.

But one Cabinet source told MailOnline the two-hour discussion had ‘pretty much kicked the can further down the road’ – another insisted they had avoided any major confrontation over how to proceed.

Asked if getting the deal through would also make that Mrs May’s exit date, the spokesman said: ‘What she wants to do is get a deal through by the summer recess.

‘She has at the same time said she would step aside once she has completed phase one.’ 

If a general election was held tomorrow Jeremy Corbyn‘s party would grab 34 per cent of the vote and he would be the next Prime Minister, a new Kantar opinion poll has revealed.    

Theresa May welcomed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to Downing Street today, as it was suggested she would quit before the summer if a Brexit deal was done

Labour is growing the gap between them and the Tories, a new opinion poll revealed today

Labour is growing the gap between them and the Tories, a new opinion poll revealed today 

Jeremy Corbyn will be smiling today after a new opinion poll put Labour nine points ahead of the Tories if there was a general election

Jeremy Corbyn will be smiling today after a new opinion poll put Labour nine points ahead of the Tories if there was a general election

The Conservatives, who were polling at 41 per cent in March, are now on 25 per cent as anger over Mrs May’s failure to deliver Brexit grows.

The Liberal Democrats would secure 15 per cent of the vote with the Brexit Party on 10 per cent and the SNP on five per cent ahead of new remain party Change UK with a dismal one per cent.

A separate poll, also by Kantar, found that half of people want a second referendum on Brexit. 

No date has been set for the summer recess, but Parliament usually rises near the end of July. 

Calls for Mrs May to leave office have intensified since this month’s local elections when the Conservatives lost 1,300 seats.

Ministers now fear a bloodbath at the hands of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party next week when the country goes to the polls for European parliament elections that would not have taken place if the UK had left the EU on time.

Tories slump to FIFTH place behind Lib Dems and Greens as EU election voters flock to Farage’s Brexit Party 

The Brexit Party is enjoying a growing lead in a new EU election poll with the Tories now in fifth

The Tories face the ignominy of finishing fifth in the EU elections as Nigel Farage continues to give them a battering, a new poll revealed yesterday.  

The Brexit Party is racing ahead with a predicted 34 per cent of the vote on May 23 – but Theresa May‘s Conservatives are heading for just 10 per cent, a YouGov survey found.

This would put the Prime Minister’s party in fifth place behind the Greens and the Liberal Democrats, who were on 15 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

The collapse in support for the Conservative Party is piling pressure on Mrs May to set a date for her departure from No 10 – but Labour is also down five points on 16 per cent, with confusion over their Brexit position continuing.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the Brexiteer European Research Group of Tories, appealed for disillusioned Conservatives to stick with the party for the sake of Theresa May’s replacement.

He said: ‘I would appeal to their loyalty, to their tradition and to say that the Conservative Party will get a new leader at some point. We have gone from 40 per cent to 10 per cent in the polls and those are Eurosceptics. It is forgetting about them that is destroying the Tory party’s vote’.

A YouGov poll yesterday found that the Tories were on course to slump to fifth place behind the Greens in next week’s elections.

The survey for the Times put the Brexit Party on 34 points, well ahead of Labour on 16, the Liberal Democrats on 15 and the Greens on 11. The poll put Tory support on just 10 per cent.

Despite today’s positive general election poll furious Labour MPs rounded on Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit last night as he appeared in front of the party’s backbenchers.

During a mammoth meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, MPs from both sides of the debate turned on their leader, questioning his lack of a clear stance on Brexit and his ability to become Prime Minister.

It came as party deputy leader Tom Watson added to Labour’s confusion over Brexit by declaring it was now the party of ‘remain and reform’.

At the party meeting, second-referendum campaigner Peter Kyle told Mr Corbyn: ‘Jeremy, I urge you to simplify our policy so people realise we are talking with absolute sincerity.’

Brexiteer John Mann said: ‘We are losing votes in the North and Midlands. If you cannot get this right, you cannot be Prime Minister.

‘There should be free votes for Labour in this Parliament. Labour voters are divided in a very big way.’

Wes Streeting told Mr Corbyn: ‘We need clear leadership in order to win the next general election.’

Today a former Labour minister under Tony Blair has quit the party in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s record on Brexit and tackling anti-Semitism saying: ‘I joined the Labour Party. Not a cult’.

Bridget Prentice, who was MP for Lewisham East from 1992 to 2010, claimed the party had ‘been destroyed’ under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

In a strongly-worded attack she said that ‘in all the major issues of the day, you have called it wrong’.

Ms Prentice, who served as a whip and junior justice minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, said ‘enough is enough’ and she was resigning with ‘deepest sadness and some anger’ after 45 years of party membership.

Mr Corbyn’s leadership was also questioned by current MPs at a stormy meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday, with concerns raised on both sides of the Brexit divide.

In her resignation letter to acting general secretary Karie Murphy she said she had ‘watched in horror as Jewish members have begged for support’ and been met with a ‘slow, reluctant and inadequate’ response.

Secretary of State for Defence Penny Mordaunt leaves after attending the weekly meeting of the Cabinet

Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, in Downiig Street today

Theresa May’s cabinet met again today and discussed how to move Brexit forward in a two hour discussion

Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, and Liam Fox, International Trade Secretary, may favour the PM bringing back her deal

Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, and Liam Fox, International Trade Secretary, may favour the PM bringing back her deal

Theresa May (pictured last night) is being urged to turn her back on Labour for the good of the Tory party

Andrea Leadsom, pictured today, said: 'Brexit has to be delivered, whatever it takes'

Theresa May (pictured last night) is being urged to turn her back on Labour for the good of the Tory party – while Andrea Leadsom, pictured today, said: ‘Brexit has to be delivered, whatever it takes’

‘It is easy to say Jeremy is not racist. But there is the sin of omission,’ she said.

By ‘not standing up to the bullies and the anti-Semites’ Mr Corbyn ‘showed no leadership’.

On Brexit, she said it was ‘clear to any objective observer that Jeremy has no wish to remain in Europe’ and in his ‘limited thinking’ he viewed the EU as a ‘bad thing’.

She claimed Mr Corbyn was ‘apparently completely ignorant of the benefits it has brought to working people in this country’ and said it was ‘pandering to the baser views of racists’ to suggest EU workers were the cause of lower wages for Britons.

Ms Prentice said that he had ‘deliberately ignored’ young members over the issue of Brexit, failing to join them on the People’s Vote march.

Labour’s John McDonnell reveals talks with May have STALLED and says 13 ex-ministers saying a new Tory PM would tear up any cross-party deal ‘hasn’t helped’ as EU reveals it is already preparing to extend Brexit til 2020

Labour’s John McDonnell today revealed that Brexit talks with the Tories have stalled badly declaring: ‘We are nowhere near what we want’.

The shadow chancellor also said that a gang of Theresa May’s former cabinet ministers telling her any deal could be scrapped by her successor ‘has not helped’ chances of a breakthrough in cross-party talks.

A group of 13 former ministers and senior Tories including leadership favourite Boris Johnson have written to Mrs May today, saying she will lose the ‘loyal middle’ of her party if she strikes a deal with Labour, branding it a ‘blind alley’. 

Mr McDonnell, whose party wants a permanent customs union and may also demand a second referendum as the price for any deal, said this afternoon that the PM’s crumbling powerbase ‘gives us no security’. 

He said: ‘We are not near what we want. Boris Johnson is certainly going to be in contention for the leadership. Very likely to be the next leader, in a situation where he in his letter today says he is not going to accept a customs union, and, actually, he will overturn the deal that we negotiate’.

Today it emerged that EU officials are already talking about a further extension of Article 50 to June 2020 because they don’t expect any breakthrough in Westminster before the current October 31 deadline, according Charles Grant from the respected Centre for European Reform.

Talks with Labour resumed yesterday after seven weeks without any breakthrough, and today the Prime Minister came under intense pressure from ministers at a Cabinet meeting this morning Brexiteers urged her to pull the plug immediately.

Ministers agreed to continue Brexit talks with Labour but acknowledged it was ‘imperative’ to get withdrawal legislation through Parliament before the summer break, Downing Street said. 

But one Cabinet source told MailOnline the two-hour discussion had ‘pretty much kicked the can further down the road’ – another insisted they had avoided any major confrontation over how to proceed. 

Theresa May (pictured last night) is being urged to turn her back on Labour for the good of the Tory party

shadow chancellor John McDonnell revealed that chances of a breakthrough look slim

Theresa May (pictured last night) is being urged to turn her back on Labour for the good of the Tory party – and shadow chancellor John McDonnell revealed that chances of a breakthrough look slim

Jeremy Corbyn is demanding a customs union deal and is under pressure from his own MPs to demand a second referendum too

Today’s incendiary letter to Mrs May, signed by Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Esther McVey and chairman of the 1922 committee Sir Graham Brady, warned of the risk of a ‘democratic deficit’ if a backroom deal with the opposition is hatched.

It is also implicit that the rebel group, made up of leadership contenders, would try tear up any soft Brexit agreement with Labour once Mrs May resigns.  

Cabinet had an ‘extensive’ two hour discussion on the Brexit talks this morning, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman has said.

Her de facto deputy David Lidington also gave an overview of the discussions with Labour, and a ‘very significant’ number of ministers spoke, he said.

The meeting stressed the ‘pressing need to get on with delivering the result of the referendum’ and cabinet agreed to continue the discussions with Labour to ‘see what was possible’, the spokesman revealed.

But ministers concluded that it was ‘imperative’ the Withdrawal Bill based on Theresa May’s deal should be brought forward and passed before the summer recess. 

Former Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, who also signed the letter drawn up by ex-ministers, said today he would rather stay in the EU than sign up to the customs union after Brexit – and urged the Prime Minister to sack off talks with Mr Corbyn now.

Boris Johnson has signed the letter to Theresa May

Dominic Raab has signed the letter to Theresa May

The letter, signed by Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Esther McVey and chairman of the 1922 committee Sir Graham Brady, warned of the risk of a ‘democratic deficit’ if a backroom deal with the opposition is hatched

He said: ‘The talks clearly aren’t getting anywhere. It’s a blind alley. It’s far better to concentrate on the arrangements in Northern Ireland, the one thing there is a majority for. If a [Labour] deal is going to include a permanent customs union then frankly we are better off staying in the EU because at least then we’d have a voice. We can’t say we are leaving then half-stay in it’. 

Mrs May is set to let MPs decide on how to break the Brexit deadlock as her own furious ministers urged her to end talks with Labour immediately.

The Prime Minister will offer the Commons a series of ‘definitive votes’ to try to settle the matter after the European elections conclude on May 23 – a plan backed by remainers in her cabinet.

Brexiteer ministers including Andrea Leadsom are said to prefer bringing back her deal to the Commons and concentrating on getting the EU to change the Irish backstop clause of Britain’s divorce deal.

Some 13 former ministers, together with the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, have written to the Prime Minister urging her not to concede Labour’s key demand of a customs union and potentially a second referendum.

The signatories also include Gavin Williamson, who she sacked as defence secretary this month.

 

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