Theresa May to appeal for Labour to work with her
Offer to Corbyn comes amid speculation about plan to push PM out of Downing Street
N-word: Theresa May’s minority government has even fewer votes in Westminster after withdrawing the whip from Anne Marie Morris. Photograph: Jason Alden/pool/EPA
Theresa May will seek to relaunch her premiership on Tuesday with a speech restating her commitment to a fairer society and calling on opposition parties to work with her government on new ideas. Jeremy Corbyn poured scorn on the prime minister’s call for co-operation in advance, however, suggesting that she should read the Labour Party manifesto if she is looking for ideas.
Speaking during a joint press conference with the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, on Monday, Ms May said Britain’s challenges required a broad input of ideas.
“The government has got an ambitious agenda. It’s an ambitious agenda which is there to address the big challenges that the country faces. Of course one of those is getting the Brexit negotiations right. But there are other challenges that we face as a country too. And I think the country will rightly want us to get the broadest possible consensus in looking at those issues,” she said.
Responding later to her statement in the House of Commons about last weekend’s G20 summit, Mr Corbyn expressed surprise that she had so much to contribute to the meeting, because there was “barely a mention” of international policy in her party’s election manifesto.
“Or indeed any policy – so much so that the government is now asking other parties for their policy ideas. So, if the prime minister would like it, I would be very happy to furnish her with a copy of our election manifesto – or better still an early election, in order that the people of this country can better decide,” he said.
Some Conservatives also expressed scepticism about the prime minister’s new enthusiasm for co-operating with the opposition. It comes amid heated speculation about a move to push her out of office within months or a demand that she should name the date when she plans to step down.
On Monday night the prime minister removed the party whip from Anne Marie Morris, a Conservative MP who used a racist epithet during a political meeting a few hours earlier. Ms Morris, who campaigned to leave the European Union in last year’s referendum, was taking part in a panel discussion about Brexit with her fellow MPs Bill Cash and John Redwood.
“I’m sure there will be many people who’ll challenge that, but my response and my request is: Look at the detail. It isn’t all doom and gloom,” she said in the recording made by Huffington Post. “Now we get to the real n****r in the woodpile, which is, in two years what happens if there is no deal?”
In a statement after the remarks were reported, Ms Morris said they were unintentional and apologised for any offence caused. Later, however, the prime minister announced that she had suspended the MP.
“I was shocked to hear of these remarks, which are completely unacceptable. I immediately asked the chief whip to suspend the party whip. Language like this has absolutely no place in politics or in today’s society,” she said.
Before the suspension Ms May’s working majority with the support of the DUP was just 13.