28/12/2018 08:11 GMT | Updated 28/12/2018 09:17 GMT

Jeremy Corbyn Calls For MPs To Cut Short Christmas Break So They Can Vote On Brexit Deal

MPs are due to finish their two-week break on 7 January.

Jeremy Corbyn is urging Theresa May to cut short parliament’s Christmas recess so MPs can vote on her Brexit deal.

The Labour leader has said he wants to have a vote “as soon as possible”, accusing May of trying to “run down the clock” and offering MPs a choice between “the devil or the deep blue sea”.

MPs are due to return to the House of Commons on 7 January, after a two-week Christmas break, with a new debate on the Brexit deal scheduled for 9 January. 

However, Corbyn says May should recall parliament a week early, on 2 January. 

“I want us to have a vote as soon as possible, that’s what I’ve been saying for the past two weeks, and if that means recalling parliament to have the vote let’s have it,” he told the Independent. 

“But it looks to me the Government has once again reneged on that and tried to put it back another week.

“We need to have that vote so a decision of parliament can be made. What I suspect is that it’s a completely cynical manoeuvre to run down the clock and offer MPs the choice of the devil or the deep blue sea.”

A Downing Street source labelled Corbyn’s call a “silly demand”, and said: “Following debate in the Commons, in the week commencing 14 January MPs will vote on the Brexit deal.

“Instead of making silly demands, Jeremy Corbyn should be honest with voters that he has no alternative plan, and only intends to frustrate Brexit - ultimately betraying the referendum result.”

In the same interview, Corbyn refused to be drawn on whether Labour would seek to extend Article 50 to keep the UK in the EU for longer. 

He said: “Lots of things are possible, the EU has longform on reopening and extending negotiations, but let’s not jump too many hoops when we haven’t arrived at them.”

A week of debate is expected before MPs vote on May's Brexit deal 

His comments came as John McDonnell dismissed the idea of an indicative vote to find which Brexit options MPs would be prepared to support if the prime minister’s deal is rejected.

The shadow chancellor told the Financial Times such a move would “run the clock down even further towards March 29”, when Britain is due to leave the EU.

Elsewhere, Gunther Oettinger, the European Commissioner and a member of Angela Merkel’s CDU party, warned that the remaining EU member states would have to stump up if Britain does not pay the £39 billion divorce bill.

Asked what impact a no deal Brexit would have on the EU budget, he told the German newspaper Westfalische Rundschau: “It depends on whether, following a disorderly Brexit, the British would be prepared to fulfill their rights and obligations as contributors by the end of the financial year 2019.

“If this is not the case, next year a medium three-digit million amount will be added to Germany.”

But he also claimed it was not “entirely unlikely” that MPs would vote for May’s deal next month.