PM wants ‘broadest possible consensus’


Theresa May has called on opposition parties to work with her on issues like counter-terrorism, Brexit and workers’ rights.

The Prime Minister’s call came ahead of a major speech on Tuesday, during which she is expected to urge other parties to “come forward with your own views and ideas” to help the Government debate key issues and find a “better way forward”.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the Commons Mrs May’s government has “run out of steam” at a “pivotal moment for our country and the world”.

When asked what topics she would like to work with other parties on, Mrs May told a Downing Street press conference: “The Government has got an ambitious agenda … to address the big challenges that the country faces.

“Of course, one of those is getting the Brexit negotiations right, but there are other challenges we face as a country too.

“I think the public will rightly want us to get the broadest possible consensus in looking at those issues.”

Mrs May highlighted workplace rights, which will be discussed by the Taylor Report, as a possible area for co-operation, as well as efforts to combat the abuse of election candidates.

“Who would not want to work to ensure that workers had the best possible rights and protections in the workplace as it changes?” she asked.

“Who would not want to work with us to ensure that we’ve got the right counter-terrorism powers and capabilities in place?

“And then there’s … this whole question of the abuse and bullying and harassment that people suffered through the general election.

“A number of MPs have clearly identified that that has happened to them, (Labour MP) Yvette Cooper has been clear it is something we need to address.

“I think we should be working together to … make sure that the message goes out very clearly that that has no role in our democracy.”

Updating the Commons on the recent G20 summit in Germany, Mrs May echoed her earlier comments, telling MPs the Government has an “ambitious agenda to change this country”, adding: “There are many issues on which I would hope we would be able to achieve consensus across this House.”

Mr Corbyn said he was “very happy to furnish” the PM with a copy of Labour’s manifesto if she was short of ideas.

“Just when we need strong government, we have weakness from this Government,” he said.

Shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne said Mrs May had “finally come clean and accepted the Government has completely run out of ideas” and was having to “beg for policy proposals from Labour”.

“No one will be fooled,” he said.

Mrs May will use her speech on Tuesday to return to her core message from when she entered Downing Street – a “commitment to greater fairness” and tackling “injustice and vested interests” in recognition that the EU referendum result was a “profound call for change across our country”.

The move is being seen as an attempt by the PM to relaunch her premiership after she lost her majority in the General Election and amid concerns the Repeal Bill to enact Brexit may be vulnerable to rebellions from backbench MPs.

Reports at the weekend suggested there is a plot by allies of Brexit Secretary David Davis to oust her.

But First Secretary of State Damian Green told Sky News: “There is no credible plot going on. There is nothing like that going on.

“The Prime Minister is determined to carry on to lead the party and the country for many years to come and the overwhelming majority of Conservative MPs are behind her in that.”