Will Jeremy Corbyn help Theresa May deliver Brexit?
By Joe Harker
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has offered to support Theresa May on Brexit if she meets five of his demands, reports The Times. Setting aside the "six tests" strategy, Corbyn will now support the prime minister in the House of Commons if she agrees.
The deal the Labour leader is offering is quite similar to Norway Plus, an option previously mooted and considered to be one of the softest forms of Brexit.
Corbyn demands that five things be added to the Brexit proposals and be made legally binding before he throws his support behind the prime minister.
First among these demands is for a permanent and UK wide customs union, something many Tory MPs do not want.
Second is close alignment with the single market without actually being in it, including shared institutions. Labour is no longer asking for a Brexit deal to provide the same benefits of the single market without being in it.
Third, the guarantee that rights and protections in the UK will keep pace with Europe as a minimum requirement. Corbyn wants the UK to set the pace when it comes to rights.
Fourth is a clear commitment to participation in EU agencies and funding programmes for matters such as the environment, education and industrial regulations.
Finally Corbyn wants an "unambiguous" agreement on the future of security arrangements with Europe, including the UK having access to the European arrest warrant databases.
If Theresa May agrees to all of these things she will have Labour's support when the crucial votes come to the House of Commons.
The Counter Claim:
Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee argues that Labour will be "punished by voters" if it overtly backs Brexit.
She disagrees with suggestions that Corbyn is offering May a set of demands she cannot accept in an effort to keep Labour leave voters onside without actually backing Brexit, arguing that "appearances matter" and the party's time sitting on the fence and trying to play both sides is over.
Some Labour supporters are furious with Corbyn for potentially "enabling Brexit" if the prime minister backs this deal. A majority of Labour voters are pro-Remain and may decide to withdraw their support at the next election.
Accepting the deal could also split the Tories, many of whom don't want to be in a customs union after Brexit. If the prime minister accepts Corbyn's demands she looks like she is having Brexit policy dictated to her by the leader of the opposition and risks losing the support of her own party once more.
Accepting Corbyn's help may not guarantee that a deal passes through the Commons. Labour MPs may vote against ushering in Brexit, albeit with a deal they have altered, while many Tories will baulk at the idea of supporting a deal changed so radically to suit Corbyn.
New polling from TSSA says supporting Brexit could cost Labour up to 45 seats in the Commons and be more damaging to their chances in further elections than the Iraq war. It says Labour would get a lower share of the vote in every seat in the country at the next election if it helps usher in Brexit.
The poll also compared supporting Brexit to the Liberal Democrats broken promises over tuition fees that significantly damaged the party's standing among certain demographics. The 18 to 35 demographic would be most unhappy with Labour supporting Brexit.
Labour would also lose seats if they opposed Brexit. The TSSA poll shows that Labour would lose 11 seats if the party switched to a platform of trying to stop the UK's exit from the EU.