Theresa May will ask opposition leaders to help her deliver Brexit


REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

In an unprecedented move, the prime minister will on Tuesday call for opposition leaders to help her get the best possible Brexit deal, and pass the necessary legislation, “in this new context” that is a minority Conservative government.

The prime minister will say: “In this new context, it will be even more important to make the case for our policies and our values, and to win the battle of ideas both in Parliament as well as in the country.

“So I say to the other parties in the House of Commons… come forward with your own views and ideas about how we can tackle these challenges as a country.

“We may not agree on everything, but through debate and discussion – the hallmarks of our Parliamentary democracy – ideas can be clarified and improved and a better way forward found.”

Some will see this as a sign of weakness, an acknowledgement from the prime minister that she’ll struggle to pass Brexit legislation without cross-party support. Brexit-supporting Conservative MPs fear a softening of No10’s Brexit position as a cost for receiving opposition support, while others insist Jeremy Corbyn was always a Brexiteer himself, and that Labour’s position is essentially a hard-Brexit one.

The government senses trouble however with the Repeal Bill, due to be proposed on Thursday, which is required to transfer EU laws into British laws. Labour backbenchers are already talking up the possibility of an ‘ambush’ of the legislation, creating a “legislative battleground” by proposing damaging amendments.

But the prime minister will say that her commitment to achieve what she’s already set out remains “undimmed” and that she is the “bold” leader the UK needs at this time of “great national change”.

“It is in that spirit that we will take this agenda forward in the months ahead,” she will add. “And this new context presents us as a government with a wider choice.

“We can play it safe or we can strike out with renewed courage and vigour, making the case for our ideas and values and challenging our opponents to contribute, not just criticise.

“In everything we do, we will act with an unshakeable sense of purpose to build the better, fairer Britain which we all want to see.”

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