PM challenges Corbyn to Brexit debate as Trump slams deal

Theresa May has challenged Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to a Brexit TV debate, as US president Donald Trump strongly criticised her EU withdrawal plans.

The Prime Minister went on the offensive as she launched an intensive two-week campaign to try and get her EU exit agreement through the Commons.

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

As Mrs May heads for Wales and Northern Ireland on Tuesday to try and sell the deal as “good for the union”, she told The Sun: “I am going to be explaining why I think this deal is the right deal for the UK - and yes, I am ready to debate it with Jeremy Corbyn.

“Because I have got a plan. He hasn’t got a plan.

“Exactly how it might be done, if he takes it up, would be a matter for the broadcasters to determine.

“What I think is important is that people are able to see the issues around this plan.

“I am willing to stand up and explain why I think it is the best possible deal available for the UK.”

A Labour spokesman said: “Jeremy would relish a head to head debate with Theresa May about her botched Brexit deal and the future of our country.”

The comments came after Mr Trump appeared to undermine Mrs May’s Brexit deal.

The US president told reporters: “Sounds like a great deal for the EU.

“I think we have to take a look at, seriously, whether or not the UK is allowed to trade.

“Because, you know, right now, if you look at the deal, they may not be able to trade with us. And that wouldn’t be a good thing.

“I don’t think they meant that.

“I don’t think that the Prime Minister meant that. And, hopefully, she’ll be able to do something about that.

“But, right now, as the deal stands she may not, they may not, be able to trade with the US. And, I don’t think they want that at all.

“That would be a very big negative for the deal.”

In response to Mr Trump’s comments, a Downing Street spokesman said: “The political declaration we have agreed with the EU is very clear we will have an independent trade policy so that the UK can sign trade deals with countries around the world - including with the US.

“We have already been laying the groundwork for an ambitious agreement with the US through our joint working groups, which have met five times so far.

“The US Trade Representative also issued a call for views from the public on a future UK-US free trade agreement earlier this month.”

Mr Trump’s intervention came as it was confirmed that MPs will vote on Mrs May’s Brexit deal on December 11 after five days of debate.

The timing gives Mrs May a fortnight to avert what threatens to be a humiliating defeat at the hands of scores of Conservative rebels.

She was loudly barracked by MPs as she insisted that no better deal was available than the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on future relations endorsed by EU leaders in Brussels on Sunday.