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May agrees to debate with Corbyn in bid to save Brexit deal

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
UK Prime Minister Theresa May (L) and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who’s under attack for her handling of the country’s exit from the European Union (EU), has finally agreed to discuss the matter in a live debate with her chief critic, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“I have got a plan, he hasn't got a plan,” May told the Sun in an interview published Tuesday, referring to her controversial Brexit deal with the EU that has been met with disapproval from her opponents and allies alike.

The embattled PM now faces the daunting task of gaining the approval of the parliament for her Brexit deal.

The deal has full support from leaders of all 27 EU countries, who made it clear after an endorsement ceremony on Sunday that renegotiation was simply not an option should May fail to get a ‘yes’ vote from British lawmakers.

“I am going to be explaining why I think this deal is the right deal for the UK,” May said.

The PM’s office has set a provisional date of Sunday December 9 for the live TV showdown, just two days before the critical Brexit vote in the House of Commons.

Corbyn has pledged to vote down May’s deal, blasting it as a “bad” and “miserable” agreement that would leave jobs and living standards at risk.

“That is why Labour will oppose this deal in parliament. We will work with others to block a no deal outcome, and ensure that Labour’s alternative plan for a sensible deal to bring the country together is on the table,” he said Sunday.

May’s announcement has prompted a debate between members of the opposition about who should take her on.

Lib Dem leader Vince Cable insisted that the debate should be between the PM and a pro-EU campaigner like him and the topic should be Brexit’s reversal and not May’s deal.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) called on May to debate its leader, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, instead.

Meanwhile, senior Tory Eurosceptic Bernard Jenkin said neither May nor Corbyn were qualified for a debate because they both campaigned against Brexit in the run-up to the June 2015 EU referendum, where 52 percent of Britons voted in favor of the divorce.

He said the debate should not be “polarized between a Remain Labour Party and a Remain PM who has negotiated a Remain Brexit.”

Corbyn has yet to accept the offer, with his aides saying he will wait for a formal invitation from May.

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

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