In Brief

Theresa May ‘rules out no deal and fourth meaningful vote’

PM's video statement demands compromises from Tories and Labour

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Theresa May has seemingly ruled out a fourth vote on her withdrawal deal and a no-deal Brexit in a video statement released on Twitter.

The prime minister acknowledged that MPs have already rejected her deal three times and admitted: “As things stand, I can’t see them accepting it”. She added that the choice was now between leaving the European with a deal “or not leaving at all,” making no mention of a no-deal Brexit.

The statement saw May “finally ditch her long standing mantra of no-deal being better than a bad one”, The Daily Telegraph said. Kate McCann of Sky News added the video was “aimed directly at people, not her party” and showed a “more human side”.

The Times says the “home video” featured “occasionally jerky camerawork” and saw the PM adopt “an uncharacteristically conversational tone”. The Daily Express described it as a “cosy video chat”.

In it, May laid out the challenges ahead. On her talks with Labour, she said: “There are lots of things on which I disagree with the Labour Party on policy issues,” but that on Brexit: “I think there are some things we agree on: ending free movement, ensuring we leave with a good deal, protecting jobs, protecting security”.

She continued: “Can we find a way through this that ensures that we can get a good deal and a deal agreed through Parliament? It’ll mean compromise on both sides but I believe that delivering Brexit is the most important thing for us.”

May's statement came hours after fellow Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg opened a new assault on her, telling Sky News that May has made “active choices” to stop Brexit - decisions she “deserves to be held to account for”.

The chairman of the European Research Group of eurosceptic Conservative MPs said the prime minister’s talks with Labour “risks giving a degree of credibility” to Jeremy Corbyn and “undermining the general thrust of the Conservative argument that he is a Marxist who would be dangerous to this nation's interests”.

Tensions are rising as the next Brexit deadline approaches. The UK is due to leave the EU on 12 April and, as yet, no withdrawal deal has been approved by the House of Commons.

Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, said yesterday that a no-deal Brexit this week would be “not nearly as grim” as many believe, claiming that preparations would mitigate many adverse effects of no deal. 

This week, May is to ask Brussels for an extension to 30 June, with the possibility of an earlier departure if a deal is agreed.

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