Theresa May to put her Brexit bill to MPs again in early June
Move puts deadline on cross-party talks but will the Commons back her bill?
Theresa May is to give MPs another opportunity to vote on Brexit early next month, with or without Labour’s backing.
The decision came following further talks between the prime minister and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, which Downing Street described as “useful and constructive” but there are already widespread doubts that MPs will vote for her Brexit bill.
The Guardian says May “hopes that by setting a clear date for the bill, she can fend off calls for an imminent no-confidence vote” and the Daily Telegraph adds that she hopes the move will “delay her resignation for almost three months”.
However, Sky News warns that “a positive outcome for the government is far from certain”. The Times goes further, predicting that defeat in the Commons would “almost certainly spell the end” of her reign.
Downing Street said the Commons will vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week beginning 3 June. The date effectively imposes a deadline on the cross-party discussions.
Labour sources say they will not back the bill without a cross-party deal and a spokeswoman said Corbyn has voiced his “concerns about the prime minister's ability to deliver on any compromise agreement”.
She added: “In particular, he raised doubts over the credibility of government commitments, following statements by Conservative MPs and cabinet ministers seeking to replace the Prime Minister.”
The DUP parliamentary leader Nigel Dodds also doubts that the bill will pass. “If the Prime Minister brings the Withdrawal bill to the Commons for a vote the question will be 'what has changed?'” he said.
“Unless she can demonstrate something new that addresses the problem of the backstop then it is highly likely her deal will go down to defeat once again.”
After the prime minister’s Brexit negotiator, Olly Robbins, provided EU officials with copies of agreed text that has emerged from the cross-party talks, EU sources said there was little evidence of any breakthrough on the divisive areas, including a permanent customs union or a confirmatory referendum.
Meanwhile, May is trying to shore up her cabinet. The prime minister has told ministers not to succumb to pressure from “absolutists” on Brexit.
She has also reminded ministers of the need to abide by collective responsibility. “She didn’t sound like someone preparing to resign,” said a cabinet source.
The Withdrawal Agreement Bill will go before the Commons in a busy week for the UK that sees US president Donald Trump makes a state visit.