UK Politics

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn clash over Brexit plans

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Media captionThe leaders argue over the roles of cabinet ministers

Theresa May has accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of being "not up to the job", as they clashed over the government's handling of Brexit.

Mr Corbyn claimed the prime minister had "no plan" for negotiations over what will happen to the UK when it leaves the European Union in 2019.

He said ministers were "desperate" for information, but Mrs May called Mr Corbyn "incapable of leading".

The prime minister wants to trigger Brexit talks by the end of next March.

Next month, the Supreme Court will hear the government's appeal against the High Court decision that Parliament must have a vote before this happens.

During a feisty Prime Minister's Questions session, Mr Corbyn pressed Mrs May to reveal how many extra civil servants will be needed to help with the Brexit process. This follows the leak of a report written by consulting firm Deloitte on Tuesday, which suggested the number could be up to 30,000.

Mr Corbyn said: "Your ministers need to know. They are desperate for an answer from you."

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Media captionJeremy Corbyn raised reports of a disputed leaked memo about the government's Brexit plan

The prime minister replied: "We are doing the preparations necessary for the point at which we'll start the complex formal negotiations with the European Union."

She added: "I have to say to you, from the confusion you've got on your benches in relation to this issue of Brexit, it's yet another example with Labour where they talk, we act, they posture, we deliver.

"We're getting on with the job. You're not up to the job."

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Media captionGeorge Kerevan asked the PM if there was talk of a peerage for Nigel Farage
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Media captionLabour MP Lisa Nandy questioned the prime minister on the child abuse inquiry

Mr Corbyn said the government was in a "total shambles" over Brexit, telling MPs: "These are the most complex set of negotiations ever undertaken by this country.

"The civil service has been cut down to its lowest level since the Second World War. The prime minister's main focus ought to be, surely, coming up with a serious plan."

But Mrs May said setting out every detail of the UK's negotiating strategy in advance to the other 27 EU member states would be the "best possible way of ensuring we got the worst result for this country", adding: "That's why we won't do it."

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Media captionMP puts PM on spot over his parents

Ministers say they are already able - under powers given conferred the royal prerogative - to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, getting formal Brexit talks with the EU under way.

But campaigners who brought the case against the government say Parliament must have a vote. The High Court backed their argument earlier this month and the Supreme Court will consider the government's appeal against the decision from 5 December, with a ruling expected in January.