Brexit deal latest: Dominic Raab and Esther McVey quit

Theresa May is fighting for her political life today after Dominic Raab and Esther McVey dramatically quit accusing her of bowing to EU ‘blackmail’ over the Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister is braced for a Tory no-confidence vote to be triggered within hours after she vowed to push on with her controversial plan despite the departures of the Brexit Secretary and Work and Pensions Secretary throwing her into chaos.

Other junior ministers have also quit as the situation threatens to spiral out of control, with the Pound plunging as markets take fright at the chances of a Brexit deal receding.

In devastating exchanges in the Commons minutes after the bombshells dropped, the premier was mauled by MPs from all sides over her ‘dogs dinner’ package..

Tory Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg signalled an all-out assault by demanding she tell him why he should not write to the powerful Tory 1922 committee urging a no-confidence vote. Another Conservative, Mark Francois urged her to recognise the reality that her plan is ‘dead on arrival’.

At a meeting of the powerful Conservative ERG block this afternoon also attended by Boris Johnson, Mr Rees-Mogg confirmed that he had put in his letter, saying Mrs May had ‘failed to meet her promises’. 

MailOnline has learned government whips are now canvassing MPs on which way they will vote – suggesting the trigger threshold of 48 letters has been reached. Downing Street insisted she will fight if a challenge is held. 

Despite Brexiteer and Remainer MPs from across parties lining up to condemn her plans, the PM defiantly pledged she would carry on in the ‘national interest’ even if the compromises involved were not ‘comfortable’.

‘I will bring it to Parliament and ask MPs to consider it in the national interest,’ she said.

‘The choice is clear. We can choose to leave with no deal. We can have no Brexit at all. Or we can choose to unite and support the best deal that can be negotiated.’ 

‘I choose to deliver for the British people. I choose to do what is in the national interest.’ 

But barely any MPs spoke up for Mrs May’s position – further fuelling fears of a fatal threat to her leadership. 

In signs of increasing desperation, there are claims that Mrs May has offered Michael Gove the Brexit Secretary job in a bid to stop him walking out.

A defiant Mrs May told MPs today that she would carry on in the ‘national interest’, despite admitting the compromises involved were not ‘comfortable’

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab dropped the bombshell news on the morning after the PM forced the terms of her proposed plan through Cabinet in a stormy five-hour meeting

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab dropped the bombshell news on the morning after the PM forced the terms of her proposed plan through Cabinet in a stormy five-hour meeting

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab dropped the bombshell news on the morning after the PM forced the terms of her proposed plan through Cabinet in a stormy five-hour meeting

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey refused to answer questions about whether she is going to resign as she left her London home today (pictured) - but within an hour she had gone 

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey refused to answer questions about whether she is going to resign as she left her London home today (pictured) - but within an hour she had gone 

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey refused to answer questions about whether she is going to resign as she left her London home today (pictured) – but within an hour she had gone 

Mrs May faced an agonising barrage from Eurosceptics today as questions mounted about whether she can hold her Brexit deal together 

Mrs May faced an agonising barrage from Eurosceptics today as questions mounted about whether she can hold her Brexit deal together 

Mrs May faced an agonising barrage from Eurosceptics today as questions mounted about whether she can hold her Brexit deal together 

Mr Raab revealed his resignation on Twitter today saying he could not 'in good conscience' support the Brexit deal

Mr Raab revealed his resignation on Twitter today saying he could not 'in good conscience' support the Brexit deal

Mr Vana said today he resigned with great regret but insisted that Britain deserves better than what Mrs May is offering them

Mr Vana said today he resigned with great regret but insisted that Britain deserves better than what Mrs May is offering them

Mr Raab revealed his resignation on Twitter today (left) saying he could not ‘in good conscience’ support the Brexit deal. It came less than two hours after Shailesh Vara quit as Northern Ireland minister (right)

In an another day of fast-moving high drama at Westminster: 

  • The Pound dropped sharply as traders concluded the chances of a Brexit agreement being signed off have dwindled. 
  •  Secretary David Mundell launched an extraordinary attack on Mr Raab as a ‘carpetbagger’ who is angling for the leadership. 
  • Mr Gove’s aides refused to confirm that he is not resigning as the premier is reported to have offered him the Brexit Secretary role. 
  • The Eurosceptic ERG group is holding a meeting amid claims that the threshold of 48 letters from MPs needed to trigger a no-confidence vote has been reached.
  • Mrs May is expected to meet Tory 1922 committee chair Graham Brady for talks later.  

Mr Raab was understood to have endorsed the draft deal ‘with a heavy heart’ at the meeting yesterday, but harboured deep concerns about the UK being locked into the Irish border ‘backstop’. 

Mr Raab, who only succeeded David Davis in the post in July, said he had ‘enduring respect’ for Mrs May but added: ‘Today, I have resigned as Brexit Secretary. I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.’

Ms McVey said in her letter: ‘The deal you put before the Cabinet yesterday does not honour the result of the referendum.

‘Indeed it doesn’t meet the tests you set from the outset of your premiership.’

The resignations came in quick succession after Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara announced his departure, this morning claiming Mrs May is trying to ‘shackle’ Britain to the EU ‘indefinitely’.

How the day of resignations unfolded

7.32am: Shailesh Vara quits as junior Northern Ireland minister, claiming the deal leaves Britain in a ‘half way house’

8.53am: Dominic Raab resigns as Brexit Secretary, saying the ‘indefinite’ backstop threatens to break up the Union 

9.58am: Esther McVey goes as Work and Pensions Secretary, lashing the PM for a deal that ‘does not honour the result of the referendum’

10.17am: Suella Braverman quits as junior Brexit minister, warning the ‘concessions do do not respect the will of the people’ 

10.20am: Anne-Marie Trevelyan quits as an aide to the Education Secretary because the deal is ‘unacceptable’ to Brexit voters 

12.35pm: Ranil Jayawardena resigns as aide to the Justice Secretary saying the deal ‘does not deliver a good and fair Brexit’. 

Brexit minister Suella Braverman has quit, as has ministerial aide Anne-Marie Trevelyan – a strong supporter of Boris Johnson. 

Aid Secretary Penny Mordaunt is also believed to be on the edge. She was in the Commons chamber this morning answering questions on her brief.

Fevered speculation erupted after Michael Gove cancelled a visit in Yorkshire, although aides insisted it was for personal reasons. They did not respond to questions about whether he was quitting.

Meanwhile, Tory Eurosceptics are vowing to spark a no-confidence vote against the PM over her ‘nightmare’ proposals – while the DUP has suggested it will stop propping up the government.

There are claims Mr Rees-Mogg will send his letter to the 1922 committee later today. 

Remainer Tory MP Anna Soubry said Mr Raab’s resignation ‘marks the end of PMs Withdrawal Agreement’ and called for a ‘government of national unity’.

The mounting crisis is on the verge of torpedoing the entire package painstakingly thrashed out with Brussels over two years – and throwing Mrs May herself out of power.

EU council leader Donald Tusk nodded to the problems this morning as he said a summit to sign off the deal will happen on November 25 ‘if nothing extraordinary happens’.

In his resignation letter, Mr Raab said: ‘I regret to say that, following the Cabinet meeting yesterday on the Brexit deal, I must resign.

‘I understand why you have chosen to pursue the deal with the EU on the terms proposed, and I respect the different views held in good faith by all of our colleagues.

‘For my part, I cannot support the proposed deal for two reasons. First, I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom.

‘Second, I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit.

‘The terms of the backstop amount to a hybrid of the EU Customs Union and Single Market obligations.

Tory Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg signalled an all-out assault by demanding to know why he should not write to the powerful Tory 1922 committee urging a no-confidence vote

Tory Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg signalled an all-out assault by demanding to know why he should not write to the powerful Tory 1922 committee urging a no-confidence vote

Tory Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg signalled an all-out assault by demanding to know why he should not write to the powerful Tory 1922 committee urging a no-confidence vote

Brexit minister Suella Braverman

Brexit minister Suella Braverman

Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Brexit minister Suella Braverman (right) has quit, as has ministerial aide Anne-Marie Trevelyan (left) – a strong supporter of Boris Johnson

Aid Secretary Penny Mordaunt is also believed to be on the edge, but she was in the Commons chamber this morning answering questions on her brief

Aid Secretary Penny Mordaunt is also believed to be on the edge, but she was in the Commons chamber this morning answering questions on her brief

Aid Secretary Penny Mordaunt is also believed to be on the edge, but she was in the Commons chamber this morning answering questions on her brief

‘No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime, imposed externally without any democratic control over the laws to be applied, nor the ability to decide to exit the arrangement.

‘That arrangement is no also taken as the starting point for negotiating the Future Economic partnership.

‘If we accept that, it will severely prejudice the second phase of negotiations against the UK.’ 

Mr Vara said the draft agreement ‘leaves the UK in a halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation’.

How can Theresa May be ousted as Tory leader?

A Tory leadership contest can be called in one of two ways – if the leader resigns or if MPs force and win a vote of no confidence in them.

Calling votes of no confidence is the responsibility of the chairman of the 1922 Committee, which includes all backbench Tory MPs.

Chairman Graham Brady is obliged to call a vote if 15 per cent of Tory MPs write to him calling for one – currently 48 MPs. 

The process is secret and only Mr Brady knows how many letters he has received.

The no-confidence vote is purely on whether the leader should stay in place or not, rather than a contest.

Crucially, if the incumbent receives more votes in support than opposed they cannot be challenged for 12 months.

That procedure was last used in 2003 when Iain Duncan Smith was removed as Tory leader. 

If the leader is ousted, any MP is eligible to stand in the subsequent competition.

Conservative MPs hold a series of ballots to whittle the list of contenders down to two, with the lowest placed candidate dropping out in each round.

The final two candidates are then offered to the Tory membership at large for an election. 

Some activists have called for changes so it is easier for contenders to reach the final stage.

They have suggested that the membership should get to choose between any candidates who get support from at least 20 other MPs.

In an eviscerating resignation letter he added: ‘We are a proud nation and it is a sad day when we are reduced to obeying rules made by other countries who have shown that they do not have our best interests at heart. We must and can do better than this’. 

The major blow came as the Prime Minister must try to convince her mutinous MPs and divided cabinet to back her Brexit vision during the biggest Commons speech of her life later. 

Mrs May has acknowledged she has ‘difficult days’ ahead with Brexiteers in her party openly plotting to topple her – but standing firm last night she told the rebels it will be her deal or ‘no Brexit at all’ and warned: ‘It is this or Jeremy Corbyn’.  

Critics including Jacob Rees-Mogg claim she has ‘shattered their trust’ by claiming her Brexit deal is ‘the best that could be negotiated’.

The senior backbencher said last night that he is ‘closer than ever’ to sending a letter of no-confidence to the 1922 Committee chairman.

Senior Tories have voiced alarm that Mrs May is opening a door to Jeremy Corbyn becoming PM by sacrificing the support of the DUP in a bid to push through her ‘nightmare’ Brexit deal.

‘We cannot survive without the DUP,’ one senior MP told MailOnline. ‘And this deal cannot get through unless sufficient Labour MPs vote for it.

‘Corbyn smells defeat and I’m sure he will not throw her a lifeline.’ 

Mr Corbyn seized on the PM’s weakness in the Commons today, Mr Corbyn confirmed that Labour MPs will be whipped to vote against the package.

The commitment further reduces the chances of Mrs May being able to get it through in a critical Commons showdown expected in the middle of next month – if the deal survives that long. 

Meanwhile in Brussels Mr Tusk revealed the EU’s 27 leaders would rush to ratify the deal in ten days time – but there are still major doubts it will survive that long.

Speaking this morning he confirmed an emergency summit will take place on Sunday November 25 and said: ‘Let me say to our British friends: as much as I am sad to see you leave, I will do everything to make this farewell the least painful possible, both for you and for us’.

Last night the PM emerged from a marathon Cabinet meeting to claim a decisive breakthrough and said her cabinet came to a collective decision to back the settlement with Brussels having apparently told them it was ‘this or Jeremy Corbyn’

But at least 10 ministers in the bruising five-hour meeting spoke out against parts of her deal.

The cabinet meeting is said to have exploded when Ms McVey called for a formal ministerial vote during the tempestuous debate over the draft agreement before Mrs May rebuffed her.

May’s former aid accuses her of ‘capitulating’ to EU 

The PM’s former chief of staff has accused her of ‘capitulation’ in the Brexit talks.

Nick Timothy, who resigned after the botched election, admitted compromises were ‘inevitable’ in the negotiations. 

But he told the Telegraph: ‘It is a capitulation not only to Brussels, but to the fears of the British negotiators themselves, who have shown by their actions that they never believed Brexit can be a success.

‘This includes, I say with the heaviest of hearts, the Prime Minister.’

He hinted the UK should be prepared to threaten Brussels with reduced security co-operation to secure a better deal.

‘With the stakes raised so high, the Government should be prepared, at last, to use all its leverage, including Britain’s contribution to European security,’ he said.

‘When Parliament rejects the Prime Minister’s proposal, as surely it will, there will still be time for ministers to negotiate something better.’ 

Others who declared themselves against the plans included International Trade Minister Liam Fox, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Home Secretary Sajid Javid. 

After the Cabinet battle, which went on three hours longer than scheduled, the premier took to the steps of Downing Street admitting that the debate had been ‘long and impassioned’ and there were ‘difficult days ahead’.

‘The collective decision of Cabinet was that the government should agree the draft Withdrawal Agreement and the outline political declaration,’ Mrs May said. ‘I firmly believe with my head and heart that this decisive choice is in the best interests of the entire UK.’ 

Mrs May’s reference to a ‘collective’ decision rather than a unanimous one immediately raised eyebrows. Around 10 ministers – nearly a third of the total – are understood to have spoken out against parts of the package, amid reports that a no confidence vote against the PM could be triggered as early as today. 

Ms Mordaunt, who was thought to be among those closest to quitting, demanded assurances from the premier on key points. Defence Secretary Gavin Willliamson also expressed reservations about elements of the deal, as did Sajid Javid, Liam Fox, Jeremy Hunt and Andrea Leadsom.

But one Cabinet source told MailOnline that Ms McVey was an ‘outlier’ in the strength of her opposition, and appeared ’emotional’. 

Scottish Secretary David Mundell had emerged as a potential risk after he signed a letter warning against giving away fishing rights as part of the agreement, but tonight confirmed that he was staying in the tent. 

There are growing signs that Mrs May could face an imminent no confidence vote. The Eurosceptic ERG group – which claims to have up to 80 Tory MP members – has shifted its position after previously holding off sending letters to the 1922 committee chairman Graham Brady.

An ex-minister told MailOnline: ‘I think a few people are holding off, will read the deal, square off their associations this weekend, then put in a letter.’ 

Meanwhile, DUP leader Arlene Foster has turned up the heat by warning Mrs May there will be ‘consequences’ if she pushes her plan through.  

Ms McVey's resignation letter

Ms McVey's resignation letter

Mr Raab's resignation letter

Mr Raab's resignation letter

Ms McVey (left) and Mr Raab (right) announced their resignations in quick succession – raising the threat of more to follow

Theresa May

Theresa May

Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara quit over her proposed 'half in, half out' divorce from Brussels

Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara quit over her proposed 'half in, half out' divorce from Brussels

Theresa May is fighting to save her Brexit deal and her role as Tory leader today as Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara quit over her proposed ‘half in, half out’ divorce from Brussels 

What happens if Theresa May’s controversial Brexit deal fails to get the support of MPs?

Theresa May is facing a revolt from all sides over her Brexit plans – leaving her premiership hanging by a thread.

Furious Tory Brexiteers are sharpening their knives and threatening to spring a no confidence vote on her by the end of the day.

While Remainers are refusing to throw her a lifeline, and instead vowing to vote down her deal and force through a second referendum and keep the UK in the EU.

This is what could happen if the PM does not manage to rally support to her deal:

Theresa May abandons her deal

Faced with a mutiny from her own MPs and the refusal of Labour MPs to come to her rescue, the PM could abandon her controversial Brexit plan.

Mrs May could try to restart negotiations with Brussels – pleading for further concessions to get a deal which stands a chance of getting through parliament.

But with the clock rapidly running down on Brexit day next March, Britain would look to be hurtling towards a no deal Brexit.

With her deal in tatters and her authority hammered, it would be hard to imagine that Mrs May could limp on as Prime Minister, clearing the way for a potentially bitter Tory leadership election and potentially a General Election.

Parliament votes down the deal:

If the PM refuses to bow to pressure and sticks with her under-fire agreement, then it will go to a vote of Parliament early next month. 

But faced with overwhelming opposition from Tory Brexiteers, Labour Remainers and the 10 DUP MPs propping her up in No10, she simply does not look to have the numbers to win.

If the deal is voted down, then Mrs May’s authority would be shredded and she would almost certainly have to quit as PM.

This would also trigger a potentially bitter Tory leadership contest just as Britain was heading for a no deal Brexit. 

It would also fuel calls for a second referendum to be held, as Remainers would warn that the political chaos gripping Britain means the public must be asked again if they actually want to leave the bloc.

Theresa May is hit with a no confidence vote: 

Seething Brexiteers are busy circling to oust the PM and have warned that the rest of the 48 letters needed to trigger a no confidence vote could be sent in by the end of the day.

If a ballot is triggered, then 158 Tory MPs would need to vote against Mrs May to oust her – firing the gun on a new Tory leadership contest just two years after the last one. 

Westminster is awash with rumours that Mrs May could trigger the no confidence vote herself – as she does a ‘John Major’ and asks her MPs to ‘put up or shut up’.

If she wins then Tory MPs will have to wait 12 months before they can mount another bid to oust her. 

After nearly five hours of behind-closed doors discussions, the PM declared that she will press ahead with her controversial plan

Mrs May delivered an impassioned defence of the package at PMQs earlier, insisting it was a ‘significant’ step forward in taking the UK out of the EU. 

But she was warned she is making a ‘shambolic mess’ of the talks by Jeremy Corbyn – and her own MPs said she was ‘not delivering the Brexit people voted for’. 

The trouble was brewing as Boris Johnson vented fury over a leaked note claiming the deal means the UK will have to ‘swallow’ EU rules for good.

The former foreign secretary urged ministers to ‘live up to their responsibilities’ by blocking the agreement from going forward.  

Mr Johnson jibed that the mooted package rules out a looser Canada-style relationship with the EU.

‘This means super-Canada impossible. Cabinet must live up to its responsibilities & stop this deal,’ he tweeted.  

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey is also considered at high risk of quitting, but the intention of others is unclear. Cabinet sources told MailOnline that things were still ‘up in the air’.

Speaking at PMQs yesterday, Mrs May said her package ‘brings us significantly closer to delivering on what the British people voted for in the referendum’.

‘We will take back control of our laws, borders and our money. We will leave the Commons Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy while protecting jobs, security and the integrity of our United Kingdom,’ she said.

‘I will come back to the House to update it on the outcome.’

But Tory Brexiteer Peter Bone confronted the premier with his concerns, saying: ‘If media reports about the EU agreement are in any way accurate, you are not delivering on the Brexit people voted for and today you will lose the support of many Conservative MPs and millions of voters around the country.’

Mrs May insisted she was delivering on the referendum – pointing to curbs on free movement – and added: ‘This is a deal that delivers on that vote but in doing so protect jobs, protects the integrity of the United Kingdom and protects the security of people in this country.’

Downing Street claims it has headed off plans that could have led to Northern Ireland being ‘annexed’ by the EU after Brexit and insists it has laid the groundwork for a ‘good deal’.  

Here is Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab’s resignation letter to Theresa May in full:

‘I regret to say that, following the Cabinet meeting yesterday on the Brexit deal, I must resign.

‘I understand why you have chosen to pursue the deal with the EU on the terms proposed, and I respect the different views held in good faith by all of our colleagues.

‘For my part, I cannot support the proposed deal for two reasons. First, I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom.

‘Second, I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit.

‘The terms of the backstop amount to a hybrid of the EU Customs Union and Single Market obligations.

‘No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime, imposed externally without any democratic control over the laws to be applied, nor the ability to decide to exit the arrangement.

‘That arrangement is no also taken as the starting point for negotiating the Future Economic partnership.

‘If we accept that, it will severely prejudice the second phase of negotiations against the UK.’

‘Above all, I cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election. This is, at its heart, a matter of trust.

‘I appreciate that you disagree with my judgement on these issues. I have weighed very carefully the alternative courses of action which the government could take, on which I have previously advised.

‘Ultimately, you deserve a Brexit Secretary who can make the case for the deal you are pursuing with conviction.

‘I am only sorry, in good conscience, that I cannot.

‘My respect for you, and the fortitude you have shown in difficult times, remains undimmed.’

How WILL Theresa May get the votes to pass her Brexit Deal through Parliament? The PM could need the support of more than FIFTY hardcore Brexiteers from her own party plus Labour rebels

Theresa May has secured her deal in Brussels but her fight to get it actually in place in time for Brexit day is just beginning.

If the Cabinet agrees to the deal the biggest hurdle will be the ‘meaningful vote’ on the plans in Parliament.

This is expected to take place in December to ensure the deal is over its biggest hurdle before the end of the year.

The Prime Minister needs at least 318 votes in the Commons if all 650 MPs turns up – but can probably only be confident of around 230 votes.

The number is less than half because the four Speakers, 7 Sinn Fein MPs and four tellers will not take part.

To win, Mrs May will need to get back around half of the 80 hardcore Tory Brexiteer rebels and secure the support of the 10 DUP MPs.

Even then she will probably still need the help of dozens of Labour MPs to save her deal and possibly her job.

Theresa May will need 318 votes in the Commons if every single MP turns up. She can only rely on about 230 votes – meaning she will need to get back around half of the 80 hardcore Tory Brexiteer rebels and secure the support of the 10 DUP MPs, plus dozens of Labour MPs 

This is how the House of Commons might break down:

The Government

Who are they: All members of the Government are the so-called ‘payroll’ vote and are obliged to follow the whips orders or resign. It includes the Cabinet, all junior ministers, the whips and unpaid parliamentary aides.

How many of them are there? About 150.

What do they want? For the Prime Minister to survive, get her deal and reach exit day with the minimum of fuss.

Many junior ministers want promotion while many of the Cabinet want to be in a position to take the top job when Mrs May goes.

How will they vote? With the Prime Minister.

Brexiteers in the European Research Group (ERG)

Who are they? Led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the ERG counts Boris Johnson, David Davis and other former ministers including Steve Baker and Iain Duncan Smith.

How many of them are there? Estimates vary on how many members it has. It secured 62 signatures on a letter to the PM in February while Mr Baker has claimed the group has a bloc of 80 Tory MPs willing to vote against May’s plans.

The group’s deputy leader Mark Francois said today there were at least 40 hard liners who would vote against the deal in all circumstances.

What do they want? The ERG has said Mrs May should abandon her plans for a unique trade deal and instead negotiate a ‘Canada plus plus plus’ deal.

This is based on a trade deal signed between the EU and Canada in August 2014 that eliminated 98 per cent of tariffs and taxes charged on goods shipped across the Atlantic.

The EU has long said it would be happy to do a deal based on Canada – but warn it would only work for Great Britain and not Northern Ireland.

The ERG say the model can be adapted to work for the whole UK. They say Northern Ireland can be included by using technology on the Irish border to track goods and make sure products which don’t meet EU rules do not enter the single market.

They also say it would give complete freedom for Britain to sign new trade deals around the world to replace any losses in trade with the EU.

The group is content to leave the EU without a deal if Brussels will not give in.

How will they vote: Against the Prime Minister.

Moderates in the Brexit Delivery Group (BDG) and other Loyalists

Who are they? A newer group, the BDG counts members from across the Brexit divide inside the Tory Party. It includes former minister Nick Boles and MPs including Remainer Simon Hart and Brexiteer Andrew Percy.

There are also many unaligned Tory MPs who are desperate to talk about anything else.

How many of them are there? There are thought to be around 50 members in the BDG, with a few dozen other MPs loyal to the Prime Minister

What do they want? The BDG prioritises delivering on Brexit and getting to exit day on March 29, 2019, without destroying the Tory Party or the Government. If the PM gets a deal the group will probably vote for it.

It is less interested in the exact form of the deal but many in it have said Mrs May’s Chequers plan will not work.

Mr Boles has set out a proposal for Britain to stay in the European Economic Area (EEA) until a free trade deal be negotiated – effectively to leave the EU but stay in close orbit as a member of the single market.

How will they vote? With the Prime Minister.

Unrepentant Remainers in the People’s Vote

Who are they? A handful of about five Tory MPs – mostly former ministers – who never supported Brexit and think the failure of politicians to get a deal means Parliament should hand it back to the people. The group includes Anna Soubry, Dominic Grieve and Justine Greening.

What do they want instead? A so-called People’s Vote. The exact timing still needs to be sorted out but broadly, the group wants the Article 50 process postponed and a second referendum scheduled.

This would take about six months from start to finish and they group wants Remain as an option on the ballot paper, probably with Mrs May’s deal as the alternative.

There are established pro-Remain campaigns born out of the losing Britain Stronger in Europe campaign from 2016. It is supported by Tony Blair, the Liberal Democrats and assorted pro-EU politicians outside the Tory party.

How will they vote? Hard to say for sure. Probably with the Prime Minister if the only other option was no deal.

The DUP

Who are they? The Northern Ireland Party signed up to a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with the Conservative Party to prop up the Government.

They are Unionist and say Brexit is good but must not carve Northern Ireland out of the Union.

How many of them are there? 10.

What do they want? A Brexit deal that protects Northern Ireland inside the UK.

How will they vote? Against the Prime Minister if the deal breaches the red line, with the Prime Minister if she can persuade them it does not. The group currently says No.

Labour Loyalists

Who are they? Labour MPs who are loyal to Jeremy Corbyn and willing to follow his whipping orders.

How many of them are there? Between 210 and 240 MPs depending on exactly what Mr Corbyn orders them to do.

What do they want? Labour policy is to demand a general election and if the Government refuses, ‘all options are on the table’, including a second referendum.

Labour insists it wants a ‘jobs first Brexit’ that includes a permanent customs union with the EU. It says it is ready to restart negotiations with the EU with a short extension to the Article 50 process.

The party has six tests Mrs May’s deal must pass to get Labour votes.

How will they vote? Against the Prime Minister’s current deal.

Labour Rebels

Who are they? A mix of MPs totally opposed to Mr Corbyn’s leadership, some Labour Leave supporters who want a deal and some MPs who think any deal will do at this point.

How many of them are there? Up to 45 but possibly no more than 20 MPs.

What do they want? An orderly Brexit and to spite Mr Corbyn.

How will they vote? With the Prime Minister.

Other Opposition parties

Who are they? The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Green Caroline Lucas and assorted independents.

How many of them are there? About 60 MPs.

How will they vote? Mostly against the Prime Minister – though two of the independents are suspended Tories and two are Brexiteer former Labour MPs.

 

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