Theresa May accussed of ‘Brexit bribe’ with new towns fund

Brexiteers outline EU deal terms

EU’s Barnier to meet UK Brexit negotiators on Tuesday

The United Kingdom's opposition Labour Party has been forced into supporting a second Brexit referendum by Prime Minister Theresa May's actions, the party's finance spokesman said on Sunday.

Labour's shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, was quick to brand the move a "desperate bribe", and pointed out that numerous towns in question are struggling because of the Conservatives' nearly decade-long austerity policy.

Meanwhile, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire denied the objective was to bribe lawmakers, saying: "This funding is there regardless of the outcome".

The Stronger Towns Fund will be targeted at places that have not shared in the proceeds of growth in the same way as more prosperous parts of the country.

May, in turn, defended the government aid and assured that those communities voted in favor of leaving the European bloc as an expression of their wish to see changes.

"These towns have a glorious heritage, huge potential and, with the right help, a bright future ahead of them", she added.

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Shadow chancellor John McDonnell branded the initiative a "desperate bribe".

In a statement, he said, "This towns fund smacks of desperation from a government reduced to bribing Members of Parliament to vote for their damaging flagship Brexit legislation".

He told BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour: "We need something which, whatever its legal form, has legal binding effect and which changes the current meaning of the withdrawal agreement".

If May's deal is defeated again, she has said she will allow MPs to vote on whether they support a no-deal Brexit and, if not, on whether they want a short extension to Article 50.

"But there is no constitutionality in that sense". In what many have characterized as outright bribery, May's Conservative government has suddenly announced fresh funding for deprived towns in England's North and the Midlands-Labour's heartlands, and areas that largely voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum.

Luke Pollard, who represents Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, scorned the £35 million earmarked for towns in the South West, pointing out that it was around the same amount as the settlement agreed with Eurotunnel over the Brexit ferries "shambles", adding: "What a pathetic mess".

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"We have organised large-scale protests on the border itself which has helped give a voice to local people who are very frustrated and feel disenfranchised by the Brexit process", he said.

An additional 600 million pounds will be open for communities on a national basis on a bidding basis, the government said.

The ERG has set out three tests that they will judge Mr Cox's efforts to secure changes to the backstop on.

"The mechanism has got to be legally binding, so effectively treaty-level change", one of the group, Conservative lawmaker Michael Tomlinson, said in an interview with the newspaper.

European Union leaders insist the legally binding withdrawal agreement will not be reopened, and talks in Brussels are focused on drafting a separate document to placate doubters in London.

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