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Corbyn: make way for Labour premiership if Government cannot get act together

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the media outside the Institute of Engineering in London, where a party meeting took place as they deal with the fallout from the sensational leak of its draft General Election manifesto. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 11, 2017. The 43-page document, which sets out plans to nationalise key industries and reverse years of austerity, was denounced by Tories as a recipe for taxes and borrowing which would put the UK on the "road to ruin". See PA story ELECTION Main. Photo credit should read: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn has suggested Theresa May make way for a Labour premiership if her Government cannot get its act together quickly.

The Labour leader said the Chequers agreement "stands as a shattered truce, a sticking plaster over the Cabinet's cracks in this Government" as he described the Government as in "crisis" after the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis.

Responding to Mrs May's Brexit statement to the Commons, he said: "The future of jobs and investment are now at stake. They, those jobs and that investment, are not a sub-plot in the Tory Party civil war."

Mr Corbyn called for a government capable of "governing and negotiating for Britain", adding: "For the good of this country and its people, the Government needs to get its act together and do it quickly and if it can't, make way for those who can."

Mrs May, in her reply, criticised Mr Corbyn for initially saying in 2016 that Article 50 should have been triggered immediately after the EU referendum.

She said: "He talks about resignations, can I just remind him, I think he's had 103 resignations from his frontbench, so I'll take no lectures from him."

Mrs May claimed Labour would "never deliver" a strong economy, adding the Opposition's policies would lead to a "run on the pound, capital flight and the loss of jobs for working people up and down this country".

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford welcomed the resignation of Boris Johnson from the Foreign Office, telling Mrs May "he should have been sacked for being a national embarrassment".

He added: "It is hard to believe that it's taken the Prime Minister two years to put together a proposal, two years to put together a proposal and two days for her Cabinet to fall apart.

"There is, I believe, a majority in the House of Commons for staying in the Single Market and the Customs Union.

"Will the Prime Minister work with the rest of us to make sure that we can deliver on staying in the Customs Union and the Single Market?"

Mrs May responded saying it was "an absolute, unequivocal no" to staying in the Single Market and the Customs Union.

Tory grandee Sir Bill Cash later asked the Prime Minister how the Chequers agreement could reconcile with the EU (Withdrawal) Act.

Mrs May responded saying the agreement would ensure a "smooth and orderly Brexit".

Tory former minister Anna Soubry, to muted cheers, congratulated Mrs May "on her leadership", saying: "The Prime Minister said that she would listen to business and she clearly has listened to business."

DUP leader Nigel Dodds asked, regarding backstop arrangements, if Mrs May "stands by her rejection of the EU's legal interpretation and that there will be no constitutional, political or regulatory differences between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom in the backstop".

The Prime Minister said she continues to "reject the protocol proposal of the so-called backstop that was put forward by the European Commission".

Labour chairman of the Brexit committee Hilary Benn asked Mrs May to confirm that the current transitional arrangement is "inevitably going to have to be extended".

Mrs May replied: "No."

The plan was labelled a "fudge" by Labour former minister Yvette Cooper, who said: "When she's in such a mess she cannot just keep standing there saying 'nothing has changed, nothing has changed', it has."

The Prime Minister said she did not say "nothing has changed", but rather that the position had "evolved".

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