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Corbyn slams PM May's 'Blackadder' plan for Irish border

By Richard Wheeler

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have clashed over the Irish border as the Labour leader likened her Brexit plan to one devised by Blackadder's hapless sidekick, Baldrick.

At Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Corbyn joked that he feared Mrs May would say "Brexit means Brexit" again before insisting it would be helpful for her to provide clarity over the border.

He asked: "Will we continue membership of the customs union or are we going to see border checks introduced between Northern Ireland and the Republic?"

Mrs May said work is continuing.

The Prime Minister told MPs: "We've been very clear, the Government of the Republic of Ireland has been very clear, the Northern Ireland Executive has been very clear - that none of us want to see a return to the borders of the past.

"I'd simply remind (Mr Corbyn) that the common travel area has been in place since 1923, which was well before either of us joined the European Union."

Mr Corbyn also mocked the PM by insisting Baldrick is the only "great philosopher" he could think of when assessing the Government's EU exit strategy.

Baldrick was known for his regular suggestions of a "cunning plan" - which would often be anything but.

Mr Corbyn told Mrs May: "On Monday, you told the House, 'We have a plan which is not to set out at every stage of the negotiations the details'.

"I've been thinking about this for a couple of days."

Tory MPs heckled Mr Corbyn, who added: "I think when you're searching for the real meaning and the importance behind the Prime Minister's statement, you have to consult the great philosophers."

After a further delay due to shouts from Tory MPs, Mr Corbyn said: "The only one I could come up with is Baldrick, who says, 'Our cunning plan is to have no plan'.

"Brexit was apparently about taking back control but the devolved governments don't know the plan, businesses don't know the plan, Parliament doesn't know the plan.

"When will the Prime Minister abandon this shambolic Tory Brexit and develop a plan that delivers for the whole country?"

To laughter from her MPs, Mrs May told Mr Corbyn: "I'm interested that you chose Baldrick.

"Of course, the actor playing Baldrick was a member of the Labour Party, as I recall."

Sir Tony Robinson, the actor who played the character in the BBC series, ridiculed Mrs May's "Brexit means Brexit" slogan by tweeting: "Baldrick means Baldrick."

He also wrote on Twitter: "Haven't left (Labour), active member for 40 years.

"But if (Brexit Secretary) David Davis needs any help with Brexit Baldrick stands ready to serve."

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