Labour MP John Mann set to break ranks and back PM’s Brexit deal

Theresa May has been given fresh hope of winning over Labour MPs to get her Brexit deal through parliament in the face of staunch opposition by her own backbenchers.

The prime minister seems to have won the backing of John Mann, the MP for Bassetlaw and a staunch Brexiteer.

He told Sky News that “as it stands” he would be voting for her divorce deal.

Earlier in the week, he met Mrs May in Downing Street to request protections on workers’ rights and environmental standards be added to the law enshrining the agreement.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he had spoken to trade unions she reached out to too, but “nothing with any certainty” was offered.

Jeremy Corbyn
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Jeremy Corbyn said the PM’s promises contained no ‘certainty’

Mr Mann, however, appeared won over – and revealed he was ready to break ranks from Labour’s opposition to the deal and vote to pass it.

Asked how many MPs could join him, he told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “If I do I don’t expect to be the only one.

“I’d be surprised if it was anything like enough to get this deal through but things can change.”

Theresa May explains the difference between having a deal and not having one
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Theresa May faces a crunch vote on her deal on Tuesday

Mr Mann denied voting with Mrs May would be “propping up the government”.

“There’d be a confidence vote,” he said. “There could have been one put already and when there is there will be a general election.”

Mr Mann also suggested another Labour MP was in talks with Downing Street about enshrining protections to equality law as a trade off for backing the deal.

He said: “I want to see the government continue in the next 48 hours to be responsive to specific demands.

“One of my colleagues I know is in discussion with others over the whole issue of equality law.

“Let’s have the highest standards but let’s have it legally binding in the Withdrawal Act and let’s have that guarantee before Tuesday, that will move us on.

“Will it get the prime minister over the line? I suspect not but it takes a lot nearer towards that.”

The UK is due to leave the EU by default on 29 March.

More than 90 Conservative MPs said in December they would vote against Mrs May’s deal.

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