PM’s Brexit document is 26 pages of waffle, Jeremy Corbyn claims

The Labour leader told the Commons that the Prime Minister's deal on the future relationship with the EU represents the 'worst of all worlds'. Picture: PA Wire
The Labour leader told the Commons that the Prime Minister's deal on the future relationship with the EU represents the 'worst of all worlds'. Picture: PA Wire
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Jeremy Corbyn claimed Theresa May has returned from Brussels with “26 pages of waffle” as he criticised her Brexit deal.

The Labour leader told the Commons that the Prime Minister’s deal on the future relationship with the EU represents the “worst of all worlds”.

But Mrs May claimed Mr Corbyn “couldn’t be more wrong” on virtually everything he said on the political declaration and withdrawal agreement, as she made a statement to MPs following talks in Brussels.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Corbyn said: “19 extra pages but nothing has changed.

“The only certainty contained within these pages is that the transition period will have to be extended or we will end up with a backstop and no exit.

“It represents the worst of all worlds, no say over the rules that will continue to apply and no certainty to the future.”

He added: “We have 26 pages of waffle, this empty document could have been written two years ago.”

Mr Corbyn also called on the PM to “abandon her poisonous rhetoric” on immigration.

• READ MORE: Brexit: UK and EU agree outline for trade and security talks

Instead of negotiating a “new, comprehensive customs union”, he said the Tories were more interested in “dog whistling on immigration”.

Mr Corbyn also said Mrs May’s deal would take fisheries back into “a new Common Fisheries Policy”.

Fishermen had been told the UK would become an independent coastal nation, but Mr Corbyn said: “Yet this agreement sets an aspiration to establish a new fisheries agreement on access to waters and quota shares by summer 2020.

“That sounds to me like we’re replacing membership of the Common Fisheries Policy with a new Common Fisheries Policy.

“It’s clear, absolutely clear, that during what will now inevitably be an extended transition period there will be no control of our money, our laws and our borders, nor indeed of our fishing stocks, for a very long time to come.”

Mrs May, in her reply, said: “I have to say to him that on virtually everything he said in his response to my statement he couldn’t be more wrong.

“Indeed, I didn’t believe that he’d actually even read the political declaration that we published today, like the withdrawal agreement.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford claimed Scotland’s fishing rights have been “thrown overboard as if they were discarded fish”, adding: “So much for taking back control, more like trading away Scotland’s interests.

“This is an absolute dereliction of the promises Scottish Conservative members and [Environment Secretary Michael Gove] made to Scotland - shame on them.”

He asked if her Scottish MPs and Scottish Secretary David Mundell had agreed to the political declaration, adding: “Is it not the case that she’s just lost further critical votes on the deal because Scottish Tory MPs could not possibly vote in favour of this sell out of Scottish fishing interests?”

In her reply, Mrs May reiterated the UK would become an “independent coastal state with control over our waters”, before telling Mr Blackford: “I will tell him what a sell out of Scottish fishermen would be - it’s the policy of the Scottish National Party to stay in the CFP [Common Fisheries Policy].”

Mrs May, in her initial statement to the Commons, told MPs: “The negotiations are now at a critical moment and all our efforts must be focused on working with our European partners to bring this process to a final conclusion in the interests of all our people.”

She added: “The British people want Brexit to be settled, they want a good deal that sets us on a course for a brighter future, and they want us to come together as a country and to move on to focus on the big issues at home, like our NHS.

“The deal that will enable us to do this is now within our grasp. In these crucial 72 hours ahead, I will do everything possible to deliver it for the British people.”