Taoiseach and Theresa May speak ahead of Tuesday's crucial Brexit vote

The Taoiseach has spoken by phone with Theresa May this evening to discuss the current situation on Brexit.

They spoke in particular about the planned vote in Westminster on Tuesday, where a crucial decision is due on the British Prime Minster's withdrawal plan.

A spokesperson for the Taoiseach says they also discussed preparation for this week's European Council meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

File photo

Meanwhile, appearing on Channel 4's Real Brexit Debate, Tory deputy chairman James Cleverly said: "Our deal delivers on what people voted for. It takes back control of our money, our borders, our laws.

"It means we can get on with Brexit and give more time to focus on other important issues like the NHS."

He added: "The only thing we know for sure is that rejecting this deal means damaging uncertainty and, as a Brexiteer, the thing that worries me the most is the risk we do not leave the EU at all."

But Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said the deal "does not do what the Prime Minister said" on the customs union, the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and a border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

"There are 68 pages of laws that will apply in Northern Ireland that will be adjudicated and made by the European Union," he said.

Mr Cleverly said "all those instances are entirely temporary" during the transition period or backstop but Mr Rees-Mogg shot back, saying the Attorney General's advice showed "the backstop could be permanent".

Green MP Caroline Lucas, calling for a second referendum, said politicians were split and the public had changed their minds on Brexit.

She said: "Why don't we just go back and check they are still happy with this?"

Jacob Rees-Mogg told the Channel 4 programme a second referendum would be a "losers' vote".

"This is all about trust," he said. "Across Europe politicians are distrusted - there are riots in France and troubles in Italy.

"Everybody agreed to accept the result of the referendum. Now Theresa May has said one thing and come back with a deal that does another."

Labour's shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner said the Government had failed and should call an election if the deal is defeated on Tuesday.

"Their botched deal would destroy jobs, it would undermine rights and protections and it would rip our country in half," he said.

Tory deputy chairman James Cleverly said: "No one really knows what the Labour Party want at all."

He added: "On March 29 we get to leave, let's just take the deal and get out."

PA & Digital Desk


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