Corbyn calls for election if May's Brexit deal fails
British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says a national election takes priority over a new referendum on Brexit.
Mr Corbyn said on Thursday that Labour would vote against Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal next week and if parliament voted it down then there should be a national election.
"If a general election cannot be secured, then we will keep all options on the table, including the option of campaigning for a public vote," Mr Corbyn said in a speech in northern England.
"But an election must be the priority. It is not only the most practical option, it is also the most democratic option."
Despite pressure from some in his party to trigger a no confidence vote urgently, Mr Corbyn would not commit to a timeframe.
Confidence in Mrs May's government will come under its most intense scrutiny next week when parliament votes on the divorce deal she has negotiated with the EU.
Yesterday she was dealt a further blow with a second defeat in two days when the House of Commons voted for a motion designed to prevent the government delaying key decisions as Brexit approaches on March 29.
The measure says that if Parliament rejects the divorce deal May has agreed with the European Union, the government must come up with a "Plan B" within three days.
The government previously had 21 days to report back to Parliament.
Lawmakers are due to vote on May's deal on Tuesday, and look likely to reject it.
Opponents of the agreement suspect the government may try to run down the clock, to leave Parliament facing a last-minute choice between May's deal and a no-deal Brexit.
Earlier, the House of Commons opened five days of debate on an agreement with the European Union setting out the terms of Britain's departure from the bloc on March 29.
A vote, initially slated for mid-December, is now scheduled for January 15 – and the government still looks likely to lose.
Mrs May insisted that her agreement was the only one available, and the only way to prevent a disruptive "no-deal" Brexit in just over 10 weeks.
"The only way to avoid no deal is to vote for the deal," Mrs May told lawmakers in the House of Commons.
© AAP 2019