Theresa May has insisted leaving the EU in an “orderly way” will be the best Brexit for the UK after a Tory MP urged her to consider a no-deal scenario.
Craig Tracey (North Warwickshire) asked the Prime Minister to respect their party’s manifesto commitments to leave the customs union and single market.
The SNP also pressed Mrs May to reveal if a second referendum has been offered on the Government’s side of the negotiating table during talks to find a compromise with Labour, with the PM reiterating that the position has not changed in opposing such a poll.
Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, Mr Tracey said: “Do you agree with me that if the best way to do that, rather than deliver the diluted deal which is unrecognisable to many of us who voted to leave, is to go under WTO rules, then we should grab that opportunity and believe in the ability of the British people and the Conservative Government to make a success of it?”
Mrs May replied: “Can I agree with you that I believe a Conservative Government will make a success of whatever the situation is in relation to Brexit?
“But I still believe, actually, the best Brexit for the UK is for us to be able to leave in an orderly way, to be able to leave with a deal.”
The PM added that there are some MPs who do not want to “honour the result of the referendum”, adding: “I do.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said discussions are continuing in an attempt to find a compromise Brexit deal, before switching focus to cuts to local government.
He said communities across the country have been “abandoned”, adding: “Official figures show that nine of the 10 most deprived council areas in this country have seen cuts almost three times the average of any other council.
“Why has the Prime Minister decided to cut the worst-off areas in our country more than the most well-off?”
Mrs May said councils have more money available this year and a real-terms increase has been provided, adding: “(Mr Corbyn) voted against that money being available.”
Mr Corbyn later said that, under this Government, 500,000 more children “have gone into relative poverty”, and, to cries of shame from the Labour benches, he said: “In Stoke-on-Trent alone, 4,000 food bank parcels were handed out to children last year.”
He finished by saying: “The evidence is clear: the Tories have abandoned communities across the country, they’ve left towns and cities to fend for themselves after nine years of vindictive, damaging austerity.”
Pointing out that there are 1,000 fewer Sure Start centres and 760 fewer youth centres since the last Labour government, he said: “This Government stands for tax cuts for the richest and swingeing cuts for the rest.
“Will the Prime Minister now admit that, far from tackling the burning injustices she talked about, her Government’s cruel and unfair policies have pushed councils to the brink and left those just about managing not being able to mange at all? That is her legacy.”
Mrs May hit back, saying she was “proud to lead a Government that has seen more children in good schools, more doctors, more jobs, lower borrowing, lower unemployment, lower taxes”.
And she said if Mr Corbyn got into power it would mean “destroying our defences, abandoning our allies, billions more in borrowing, fewer opportunities, and higher taxes for everyone”.
For the SNP, Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “It is now one week since talks began between the Tory Government and the Labour Party.
“At any point during these talks, has a second referendum been offered on the Government’s side of the negotiating table? Yes or no?”
Mrs May responded: “My position on a second referendum and the Government’s position has not changed. The House has rejected a second referendum two times. When we come to a deal, we will have to ensure that legislation goes through this House.
“Of course, it may be there are those in this House who wish to press that issue as that legislation goes through, though my position on this has not changed.”
Mr Blackford said Mrs May appeared not to answer his question about a second referendum.
Conservative MP Henry Smith (Crawley) raised concerns over a 12-month Brexit delay, saying: “Does she not recognise that that would cost more than £1 billion a month to the British taxpayer in subscriptions to the EU, and does she not agree that that funding would be better spent on tackling crime, funding schools and even tax cuts for my constituents and constituents up and down the country?”