UK Labour to bid for election - but their Brexit plan is branded 'b***ocks'
- Labour's Corbyn says election is only way out of "political chaos"
- Tanaiste Coveney insists majority still want to prevent no-deal Brexit
British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn has claimed the only way out of the "political chaos" in Westminster is a general election.
He made the remarks at an event in Yorkshire during the second day of debate on Theresa May's Brexit deal in the House of Commons.
But senior Conservative minister Michael Gove branded Labour's position on Brexit as "b***ocks".
Meanwhile, during a visit to Northern Ireland, Tánaiste Simon Coveney rejected suggestions that defeat of Mrs May's deal is inevitable, insisting there is no majority in Westminster for a no-deal scenario.
"In fact there is a majority who want to prevent that from happening," he added.
Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement with the EU - including the controversial backstop to avoid a hard border in Ireland - is set to be voted on by MPs on Tuesday.
It faces opposition from Labour, some in the Conservative Party, and the DUP - who Mrs May relies upon to stay in power.
Mr Corbyn said his party doesn't have confidence in the government and added: "The political chaos cannot go on. The only way out of it would be a general election".
He confirmed his party will call for a vote of no confidence in the UK government if the Brexit deal is voted down in a bid to force an election.
He said Labour would campaign on a platform of opening fresh Brexit negotiations with Brussels on a potential deal involving a customs union and single market relationship.
He suggested there would need to be extra time for these talks and so seeking an extension on the UK's March 29 departure date from the EU would be a possibility.
He said Labour doesn't have enough MPs to win a confidence vote on its own and said MPs across the house should vote with them to "break the deadlock".
Speaking in the House of Commons, environment secretary Michael Gove claimed that Labour's Brexit stance is "b***ocks".
His remarks came as he opened the second day of debate on Mrs May's Brexit deal.
He referred to reports alleging that Labour shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner had made the same remarks about the party's Brexit plans.
Mr Gove said: “He summed them up, pithily, in a word which in Spanish translates as ‘cajones’ and in English rhymes with ‘rollocks’.
He added: "there are some distinguished citizens in this country who have put on their cars a poster or sticker saying ‘bollocks to Brexit’ - but we now know from Labour’s own frontbench that their official Brexit position is b***ocks.”
Liberal Democrat former minister Sir Edward Davey called a point of order, asking whether Speaker John Bercow had “made a new ruling on Parliamentary language which I am not aware of?”
Mr Bercow responded that Mr Gove had not been disorderly and use of the word was “a matter of taste”.
Mr Gove said compromise was inevitable with any Brexit deal and insisted Mrs May’s agreement “honours the referendum result” and protects the “interests of every British citizen”.
He defended the backstop for Northern Ireland saying: “One of the opportunities that the citizens of Northern Ireland have as a result of this deal is to have unimpeded access, not just to the rest of the UK market, which is essential for the maintenance of our union, but also unimpeded access to the rest of the European Union.”
Additional Reporting: Press Association