Theresa May erupted at the Labour Party leader after Sir Keir Starmer claimed the Brexit trade deal reached with the European Union is “thin”. The former Conservative Prime Minister insisted Sir Keir could have had a more comprehensive deal had he backed her efforts to secure a deal last year. Speaking in the Commons as MPs debated the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill, Mrs May said: “I welcome this deal and I will be supporting it today.
“And I welcome the fact the official Opposition will be supporting this deal but I did listen with some incredulity to what the leader of the Opposition said.
“He said he wanted a better deal. He had the opportunity in early 2019, when there was the opportunity of a better deal on the table, and he voted against it.
“So I will take no lectures from the leader of the Opposition on this deal.”
Sir Keir said the Labour Party will back the Government’s bill despite their dissatisfaction with the final agreement struck last week.
Defending his decision to whip MPs to back the Brexit trade deal, Sir Keir said: “There’s only one choice today, which is to vote for implementing this deal or to vote for no-deal. Those that vote no, are voting for no-deal.
“This is the nub of it: those voting no today want yes. They want others to save them from their own vote. Voting no, wanting yes, that’s the truth of the situation and that’s why my party has taken a different path.”
The leader of the Opposition claimed he would have negotiated a “better” deal than the Prime Minister, adding: “When the default is no-deal it’s not a mark of how pro-European you are to reject implementing this treaty.
“It isn’t in the national interest to duck a question or to hide in the knowledge that others will save you from the consequences of your own vote.
“It a basis to build on in the years to come. And ultimately voting to implement this treaty is the only way to ensure that we avoid no-deal, and so we (Labour) will vote for this Bill today.
“But I do hope that this will be a moment where our country can come together and look to a better future.
“The UK has left the EU, the Leave/Remain argument is over, whichever side we were on.”