Theresa May’s workers’ rights pledge could persuade ‘up to 70 Labour MPs to back her deal’

Theresa May’s pledge to protect workers’ rights after Brexit could persuade up to 70 Labour MPs to back her deal, it was claimed last night.

Labour MP John Mann, who has led talks between his party’s members and the Government, said dozens of colleagues were against Jeremy Corbyn’s plan for a second referendum and could back Mrs May’s plan – if ministers offer enough reassurances.

The Prime Minister and Business Secretary Greg Clark are set to unveil a new ‘Workers’ Rights Bill’ next week as part of a package designed to woo Labour MPs.

Prime Minister Theresa May's pledge to protect workers' rights after Brexit could persuae up to 70 Labour MPs to back her deal 

Prime Minister Theresa May's pledge to protect workers' rights after Brexit could persuae up to 70 Labour MPs to back her deal 

Prime Minister Theresa May’s pledge to protect workers’ rights after Brexit could persuae up to 70 Labour MPs to back her deal 

Details are also expected of a £1.6billion fund for deprived towns, which critics have called a ‘bribe’ for Labour MPs in Brexit-supporting areas in the North and Midlands.

Mr Mann last night said the scale of the package from ministers would be vital in winning the support of Labour MPs, whose backing is needed to cancel out hardline Eurosceptics who would prefer No Deal.

‘This is critical because it is about shaping the kind of Brexit we have,’ he said. ‘There are more than 70 of us on the Labour side against a second referendum. 

They have to make a decision – are they going to support the only deal on the table, or are they going to allow a second referendum?’

MPs are scheduled to hold the key ‘meaningful vote’ on Mrs May’s deal on March 12. Downing Street yesterday played down rumours that the vote could be held a week early on March 5. 

A source said the chance of it being held early was ‘one per cent’, with Attorney General Geoffrey Cox having ‘a long way to go’ in his bid to secure legally-binding changes to the Irish backstop.

Labour's John Mann MP, who has led talks between his party’s members and the Government, said dozens of colleagues could back Mrs May's plan if ministers offer enough reassurances 

Labour's John Mann MP, who has led talks between his party’s members and the Government, said dozens of colleagues could back Mrs May's plan if ministers offer enough reassurances 

Labour’s John Mann MP, who has led talks between his party’s members and the Government, said dozens of colleagues could back Mrs May’s plan if ministers offer enough reassurances 

Mrs May’s decision this week to open the door to a Brexit delay has sparked fury on the Tory benches – with the resignation of agriculture minister George Eustice – but also appears to have focused minds on the choice facing Eurosceptic MPs.

A string of Brexiteer MPs, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, softened their demands this week, suggesting they could back Mrs May’s deal provided Mr Cox returns with legally-binding changes that mean the UK cannot be trapped in a customs union indefinitely.

Westminster sources last night suggested that Mrs May’s DUP allies – seen as the key to securing widespread Tory support – are also looking for ‘a ladder to climb down’ after opposing the PM’s deal in January.

Government sources confirmed Mrs May is to launch a fresh bid to woo Labour MPs, with one admitting ‘we are going to need a significant number of Labour MPs as well to have any chance of getting this through’.

 

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