NEWS
31/12/2018 22:30 GMT | Updated 01/01/2019 09:01 GMT

Theresa May Says UK Can ‘Turn A Corner’ If MPs Back Brexit Deal In New Year's Message

"New Year is a time to look ahead and in 2019 the UK will start a new chapter."

Brexit has dominated the New Year’s messages of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, with both calling for an end to disruptive political turmoil.

May urged MPs to back her Brexit deal, saying that passing it into law will allow the UK to “turn a corner” and seek to unite rather than divide over difficult choices facing the country.

The prime minister used her New Year message to put pressure on politicians to support her withdrawal agreement when it is put before the Commons.

She said while the 2016 referendum was “divisive” there was a chance to make 2019 “the year we put our differences aside and move forward together”.

In her video message, she said: “New Year is a time to look ahead and in 2019 the UK will start a new chapter.

“The Brexit deal I have negotiated delivers on the vote of the British people and in the next few weeks MPs will have an important decision to make.

“If parliament backs a deal, Britain can turn a corner.”

MPs return to parliament next week, with debate on the Brexit deal due to start on January 9 before a meaningful vote the following week.

May also used the message to attempt to look beyond Brexit, saying settling the deal would allow time and energy to be spent on areas like housing, trade, the NHS, immigration reform and the environment.

Highlighting the government’s 2018 achievements, she added: “Together, I believe we can start a new chapter with optimism and hope.

“We have all we need to thrive and if we come together in 2019 I know we can make a success of what lies ahead and build a country that truly works for every one of us.”

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn used his New Year message to accuse May’s Government of plunging the country into crisis by making a “mess” of Brexit.

The Labour leader said the prime minister’s efforts to force through her Withdrawal Agreement in a crunch Commons vote next month were “letting people down all across the country, whether they voted Leave or Remain”.

In the message, released on social media on Monday morning, he said the UK was full of talent that was being held back by the economic system and Conservative rule.