Cancel the vote and go NOW: Even May’s close allies beg her to dump her doomed Brexit plan

Theresa May has today been told to pull the vote on her Brexit deal and resign by Tory MPs preparing to launch a coup to throw her out of Downing Street within days.

The Prime Minister faces a three-hour bruising in the Commons later during PMQs and then a debate on her Brexit bill, which will be published later.

Yesterday Mrs May took the gamble of offering MPs a binding vote on a second referendum – if they backed her withdrawal agreement at the fourth attempt.

But her speech was branded a ‘f***ing disaster’ by one minister with 65 Tory MPs set to vote against her deal next month – including u-turns from more than 30 who had voted for it last time – and Labour rebels also refusing to bail her out.

Today Environment Secretary Michael Gove avoided saying if the PM would be in post after next week and said the cabinet will ‘reflect over next few days’ on whether the Brexit bill will definitely be voted on in the first week of June. 

And when asked if he could work with Boris Johnson – who he fell out with in 2016 – he called the leadership favourite ‘a Conservative of flair, elan and intellect’ who ‘served as foreign secretary with distinction’. 

The Tory 1922 committee of backbenchers will meet at 4pm today and are ready to launch a coup as the PM’s authority drained away.  

The group’s executive secretary Nigel Evans said: ‘She has U-turned on absolutely everything. We cannot put up with this any longer. I will be asking my colleagues to agree to a rule change so we can hold an immediate confidence vote if Theresa is not prepared to stand down now.’

With support for her deal collapsing Mrs May has made a final desperate attempt to get Labour support by writing to Jeremy Corbyn begging him to back her – but that also appears to have backfired. 

The Labour leader’s Brexit negotiator Sir Keir Starmer said today: ‘The Prime Minister ought to now admit defeat and I think she would do well to just pull the vote and pause because this is going nowhere’.    

Theresa May made an emotional plea for MPs to get on board with her ‘bold’ package, saying they had ‘one last chance’ to get the UK’s departure from the EU over the line before the chance ‘slips away’

Michael Gove hinted that the vote on Mrs May's deal could still be shelved and had warm words for leadership favourite Boris Johnson

Michael Gove hinted that the vote on Mrs May's deal could still be shelved and had warm words for leadership favourite Boris Johnson

Michael Gove hinted that the vote on Mrs May's deal could still be shelved and had warm words for leadership favourite Boris Johnson

Michael Gove hinted that the vote on Mrs May's deal could still be shelved and had warm words for leadership favourite Boris Johnson

Michael Gove hinted that the vote on Mrs May’s deal could still be shelved and had warm words for leadership favourite Boris Johnson

 








In a letter to Mr Corbyn, she highlighted the tests he had set at the start of the failed process to reach a cross-party agreement, and insisted that the proposals would hold ‘for the remainder of this parliament’ – a reference to his concerns that her successor could unpick a deal.

She told him: ‘I have shown … that I am willing to compromise to deliver Brexit for the British people.

Jeremy Corbyn is expected to refuse the PM's plea for help to pass her deal

Jeremy Corbyn is expected to refuse the PM's plea for help to pass her deal

Jeremy Corbyn is expected to refuse the PM’s plea for help to pass her deal

‘The WAB is our last chance to do so. I ask you to compromise too so that we can deliver what both our parties promised in our manifestos and restore faith in our politics.’

On Tuesday Mr Corbyn said: ‘We will, of course, look seriously at the details of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill when it is published.

‘But we won’t back a repackaged version of the same old deal – and it’s clear that this weak and disintegrating government is unable to deliver on its own commitments.’

Mrs May’s Brexit deal was hanging by a thread last night as furious Tory MPs savaged her decision to open the door to a second referendum.

She pleaded with Parliament to finally approve her plan so Britain could avoid ‘a nightmare future of permanently polarised politics’.

Desperate to win over Labour MPs, she also suggested the agreement could be amended to include a temporary customs union. The move followed a fractious three-hour Cabinet meeting, in which at least two ministers are said to have hinted they might resign in protest at the concessions.

Boris Johnson, who voted for Mrs May’s deal at the third attempt, led the attacks on her latest offer, saying: ‘Now we are being asked to vote for a customs union and a second referendum. The Bill is directly against our manifesto – and I will not vote for it. We can and must do better – and deliver what the people voted for.’

Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, who is lining up against Mr Johnson to succeed the PM, said he could not support legislation ‘that would be the vehicle for a second referendum or customs union’.

Mark Francois led hardline Eurosceptic MPs in insisting Mrs May’s concessions were ‘dead on arrival’. Some Tory MPs even called on the PM to quit immediately 

Jeremy Corbyn initially said Labour would ‘look seriously’ at the proposals. But he later warned: ‘Theresa May’s new Brexit deal is a rehash of her old bad deal and Labour cannot support it.’

The Prime Minister appeared to be on course for a crushing three-figure defeat as MPs from almost all sides rejected her proposals, with Brexiteers branding it a ‘direct insult’ and a ‘dog’s breakfast’, while Labour and key Remainers said it did not go far enough. 

As the problems for the premier deepened, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the DUP and more moderate Tories publicly declared that they will vote against the Bill – putting it on track for a crushing defeat.

Richmond MP Zac Goldsmith called for the Prime Minister to ‘go’, saying: ‘I supported the PM’s rotten deal last time as I felt we could then draw a line and select a new PM to pick up the pieces.

‘But I cannot support this convoluted mess.’   

Theresa May’s ten pledges to woo MPs to vote for her deal

By Jack Doyle for the Daily Mail

Theresa May yesterday set out ten commitments in a last-ditch bid to win votes for her Brexit withdrawal agreement, including allowing a vote on a second referendum:

Avoid the backstop

Mrs May will enshrine in law a promise to try to find alternative arrangements designed to keep the Northern Ireland border open. This falls far short of the demands of Tory Brexiteers who want the backstop dropped entirely.

Keep Northern Ireland’s laws tied to Britain’s

A straight pitch to the Democratic Unionist Party which wants to limit, or stop entirely, divergence between the province and the mainland. A repeat of an earlier promise, it last night failed to satisfy the DUP.

MPs to set the agenda

Instead of the Government drawing up its plans for the next phase of the talks with the EU – the future trading arrangement – this ‘negotiating mandate’ will have to be approved by Parliament. Could help win over a small handful of Labour MPs at best.

Follow EU worker rights

Mrs May has promised a bill to ensure the UK adopts any employment laws passed by Brussels. This is a key Labour demand but Tory MPs fear extra red tape and pro-trade union laws.

Preserve EU green rules

Another offer to Labour that there will be no change in environmental protection after Brexit and a new green regulator. Doesn’t meet Labour’s demand that we follow all EU environment laws automatically and will alienate Tories who want the UK to set its own rules outside Brussels’ orbit.

Keep trade ‘frictionless’

Trying to mirror Labour’s demands, Mrs May has pledged to keep trade barriers as low as possible while leaving the single market and ending free movement. Hard to see how it wins over significant numbers of MPs.

Follow EU goods and agriculture rules

Even after Brexit, the UK would follow EU rules to keep trade flowing smoothly. A slightly firmer promise than before. Works for Labour MPs but, again, alienates Tory Brexiteers.

Customs plan options

MPs will be offered a choice between Mrs May’s proposal, which has many elements of a customs union but allows for trade deals, and a full customs union until the next election. Still the thorniest knot of the negotiations, and seemingly impossible to resolve.

Second referendum

Downing Street had repeatedly ruled out a second vote. Yesterday that position was ditched, with the PM saying the Withdrawal Bill will allow for a vote on a second national poll. Even making the offer enrages Tory MPs. If it passed the Conservative Party would implode.

Legally binding changes

A commitment to make changes to the political declaration – part of the deal with the EU – to make this offer a reality. She would then go back to the EU. However MPs would have to pass the Withdrawal Bill – and this already looks highly unlikely.

 MP for Dover and Deal, Charlie Elphicke, said: ‘I supported the Prime Minister in March as I thought it was our last chance to leave the EU. 

‘That’s no longer the case and I’m afraid that this proposal is worse than before. This is not Brexit and I won’t be supporting it.’

Dominic Raab, a former Brexit secretary, who said: ‘I cannot support legislation that would be the vehicle for a second referendum or customs union. Either option would frustrate rather than deliver Brexit – and break our clear manifesto promises.’

In a string of social media messages and interviews, around two dozen of the Prime Minister’s backbenchers who had previously voted for her deal the last time, said they would no longer back her.

Even Tory loyalist Andrew Percy, who had led support for Mrs May’s deal on the backbenches, said he was no longer sure he could vote for it because of the promise to hold a vote on having a second referendum. 

‘I’m frustrated,’ he told BBC News. ‘I voted for this deal three times, because I think it is the only way we will get out. I really am concerned about the proposed possibility of a second referendum.

‘People were told in the referendum, it was the final say on the matter for a generation – it would be implemented.’

However, several key Cabinet figures last night backed Mrs May’s offer. 

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said: ‘The Prime Minister is doing everything she can to ensure we leave the EU in a way that protects jobs, security and the Union. I support her and urge colleagues to back the deal. Once passed, business investment and confidence will surge, building on strong national employment.’

Chancellor Philip Hammond said: ‘Britain needs a Brexit that feels like a compromise; one that everyone can live with. Theresa May’s new Brexit deal is a bold proposal and one I encourage all members of the House of Commons to get behind so we can settle this question once and for all.’

And International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said it was ‘crunch time.’

In an passionate speech as dusk appeared to be falling on her time in power, Mrs May:

  • Tried to reassure Brexiteers by saying the government is still seeking ‘alternative arrangements’ that could avoid the Irish border backstop ever coming into effect.  
  • Pitched to Labour MPs be committed to legal guarantees that workers’ protections will be just as favourable in the UK as in the EU.  
  • Said MPs will be able to decide between a temporary customs union with the EU and the government’s customs proposals.
  • Offered a vote on a second referendum – but stopped short of saying Tory MPs would be allowed a free vote on the issue. 

In the hastily-arranged address, Mrs May warned that this was the last chance to avoid ‘a nightmare future of permanently polarised politics’. 

She said: ‘If MPs vote against the second reading of this Bill they are voting to stop Brexit. 

‘If they do so the consequences could hardly be greater – reject this deal and leaving the EU with a negotiated deal any time soon will be dead in the water and what would we do then?’ 

Mrs May also delivered a stark message to Brexiteers that their hardline demands risked keeping the UK in the EU. 

‘Some suggest leaving without a deal,’ she said.

‘But whatever you think of that outcome – Parliament has been clear it will do all it can to stop it.

‘If not no deal, then it would have to be a General Election or a second referendum that could lead to revocation – and no Brexit at all.’ 

But MailOnline understands she was forced to water down her offer after a ferocious Cabinet revolt over the idea of giving MPs a free vote on a referendum – something that would have made it much more likely to pass. 

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling apparently threatened to quit during a fraught two-hour session in Downing Street on Tuesday morning. No10 said whipping arrangements for the vote have yet to be decided.

But while Mrs May was still talking her own MPs were rejecting her deal.  Tory Middlesbrough MP Simon Clarke said: ‘I supported the PM at MV3, to try to get us out on 29 March.

‘But this speech from the PM means there is no way I will support the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.’ 

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage delivers a speech to supporters during a rally at Olympia in London, last night

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage delivers a speech to supporters during a rally at Olympia in London, last night

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage delivers a speech to supporters during a rally at Olympia in London, last night

Mrs May delivers her new pitch to MPs in a speech in London. Remainers and Brexiteers united in fury against the deal this evening

Mrs May delivers her new pitch to MPs in a speech in London. Remainers and Brexiteers united in fury against the deal this evening

Mrs May delivers her new pitch to MPs in a speech in London. Remainers and Brexiteers united in fury against the deal this evening

Labour demands for a second referendum crashed efforts to get a cross-party compromise on Brexit last week.

Trying to win over Remainer MPs to her point of view, Mrs May said: ‘I recognise the genuine and sincere strength of feeling across the House on this important issue. 

‘The Government will therefore include in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill at introduction a requirement to vote on whether to hold a second referendum and this must take place before the Withdrawal Agreement can be ratified.’  

But Mrs May’s suggestion was dismissed as a ‘con trick’ by Labour MPs. The last time a whipped vote was held on a referendum, it was overwhelmingly defeated by 334 to 85 – and supporters do not believe the result would be different.   

During the fraught Cabinet meeting earlier, MailOnline understands that chief whip Julian Smith warned the PM that she is staring down the barrel of defeat.








Theresa May appealed for politicians to get on board with her ‘bold’ package in a speech in Westminster this afternoon

 But she was prevented from making deeper concessions by objections from key Brexiteer ministers. 

Mrs May told her team: ‘The Withdrawal Agreement is the vehicle which gets the UK out the EU and it is vital to find a way to get it over the line.’

Corbyn says he WON’T back PM’s Brexit plan and labels it a ‘rehash of the same old deal’ 

Jeremy Corbyn blasted Theresa May‘s ‘bold’ New Deal Brexit as a ‘rehash’ tonight as her last-gasp attempt to ram an agreement through Parliament looked doomed to failure. 

The opposition leader, who last week broke off talks with the PM’s top team after weeks of deadlock, branded it ‘effectively a repackaging of the same old bad deal, rejected three times’.

His brutal assessment came as Labour MPs from across the party looked set to condemn the new plan before it even gets put to a vote.   

A host of Jeremy Corbyn’s backbenchers said they would not support it even though she made a host of concession designed to woo them into the aye lobby.

 Mr Corbyn said: ‘On key elements – customs, market alignment and environmental protections – what the Prime Minister calls her new Brexit deal is effectively a repackaging of the same old bad deal, rejected three times by Parliament.

‘We will of course look seriously at the details of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill when it is published. 

‘But we won’t back a repackaged version of the same old deal – and it’s clear that this weak and disintegrating government is unable deliver on its own commitments.’

A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘Cabinet discussed the new deal which the Government will put before Parliament in order to seek to secure the UK’s exit from the EU. 

‘The discussion included alternative arrangements, workers rights, environmental protections and further assurances, in particular the integrity of the UK in the unlikely event the backstop is required.’

The response to the latest move by Mrs May was vicious.

The DUP’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds said: ‘We will have to await the publication of the text of the Bill to see what the proposals actually mean but the fact is that the fatal flaws of the draft treaty remain.’ 

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said there was nothing new in Mrs May’s latest deal. 

‘The backstop is still there, it’s a customs union in all but name and it puts Brussels firmly in control of our destiny,’ he said. 

‘There’s nothing new or bold about this bad buffet of non-Brexit options. 

‘At a time when people are deserting the main parties this is the PM’s response, to do all she can to defy the result of the referendum. 

Mr Rees-Mogg tweeted: ‘The Prime Minister’s latest proposals are worse than before and would leave us bound deeply in to the EU. It is time to leave on WTO terms.’ 

Conservative MP and Brexiteer Charlie Elphicke slammed the deal as a ‘dog’s breakfast’ that he could not support, despite voting for Mrs May’s deal last time. 

He said: ‘This is even more of a dog’s breakfast than the last deal, it is not Brexit and I won’t be supporting it. 

‘The backstop customs union is still at the heart of the deal, preventing us from agreeing trade deals with the fasting growing economies in the world.’  

Theresa May pictured leaving No10 by the back door after intense talks with the Cabinet yesterday where several ministers reportedly ready to quit

Theresa May pictured leaving No10 by the back door after intense talks with the Cabinet yesterday where several ministers reportedly ready to quit

Theresa May pictured leaving No10 by the back door after intense talks with the Cabinet yesterday where several ministers reportedly ready to quit








Andrea Leadsom has hit back at the Chancellor Philip Hammond by saying that Britain must leave the EU on October 31 whatever happens

Andrea Leadsom has hit back at the Chancellor Philip Hammond by saying that Britain must leave the EU on October 31 whatever happens

Adding to Tory woes tonight, Philip Hammond will warn Boris Johnson and other Brexiteer party leadership candidates that they have ‘no mandate’ for No Deal

Adding to Tory woes tonight, Philip Hammond will warn Boris Johnson and other Brexiteer party leadership candidates that they have ‘no mandate’ for No Deal

Andrea Leadsom (pictured yesterday) has hit back at the Chancellor Philip Hammond by saying that Britain must leave the EU on October 31 whatever happens








May’s emotional plea for MPs to back her Brexit Bill 

‘If MPs vote against the second reading of this Bill they are voting to stop Brexit. 

‘If they do so the consequences could hardly be greater – reject this deal and leaving the EU with a negotiated deal any time soon will be dead in the water and what would we do then?’ 

‘This is a huge opportunity for the United Kingdom….

‘It is practical. It is responsible. It is deliverable. 

‘And right now, it is slipping away from us.’  

‘Some suggest leaving without a deal.

‘But whatever you think of that outcome – Parliament has been clear it will do all it can to stop it.

‘If not no deal, then it would have to be a General Election or a second referendum that could lead to revocation – and no Brexit at all.’

‘My views on second referendum are well known.

‘Look at what this debate is doing to our politics.

Extending it for months more – perhaps indefinitely – risks opening the door to a nightmare future of permanently polarised politics.

‘Look around the world and consider the health of liberal democratic politics.’ 

Labour MP Wes Streeting tweeted: ‘Lots of us have been very clear that the PM’s deal can pass on the condition that the people get to decide through a referendum.

‘That’s not what the PM is promising I’m afraid. ‘Will look at the detail first, but on that basis it’s unlikely I’ll vote for the Bill at Second Reading.’ 

Jeremy Corbyn also made clear that he would order MPs to oppose the Bill. 

‘The Prime Minister’s proposal tonight seems to be largely a rehash of the government’s position in the cross party talks that failed to reach a compromise last week,’ he said. 

Despite signing off the attempt to push the Brexit Bill through, Cabinet is already at war over what happens after Mrs May is ousted – with open leadership jostling.  

She said she would only support the Bill ‘so long as it continues to be leaving the European Union’ – something she defined as being outside the single market and the customs union.

Ms Leadsom told BBC Radio 4’s Today: ‘I continue to support the Prime Minister to get her Withdrawal Agreement Bill through. It is leaving the European Union and so long as it continues to be leaving the European Union, I continue to support it.

‘What I do think is that for any negotiation to succeed, you have to be prepared to walk away.’

She added: ‘I would like us to have a deal but if we get to the end of October and it’s not possible to get a deal, leaving the EU is the most important thing’. 

By contrast, Mr Hammond will tonight use a keynote speech to blast Tory leadership candidates including Boris Johnson, saying those advocating No Deal are ‘hijacking the result of the referendum’.  








Boris Johnson scrambles to ease Tory fears about his hard Brexit plans amid claims allies could SUE MPs if they block him from leadership battle

Boris Johnson (pictured campaigning in London last week) is scrambling to ease Tory moderate fears about his hard Brexit plans

Boris Johnson (pictured campaigning in London last week) is scrambling to ease Tory moderate fears about his hard Brexit plans

Boris Johnson (pictured campaigning in London last week) is scrambling to ease Tory moderate fears about his hard Brexit plans

Boris Johnson is scrambling to ease Tory moderate fears about his hard Brexit plans as the battle to succeed Theresa May heats up.

The former foreign secretary hailed a set of ‘One Nation Conservative’ principles drawn up by dozens of moderate MPs, insisting on Twitter: ‘Agree with all of this.’

The intervention comes as a ‘Stop Boris’ campaign gathers pace in the Parliamentary party, with many MPs concerned that he would shift the Tories dramatically to the right. 

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd – a key Remainer in the Cabinet – fuelled talk of a ‘dream ticket’ alliance with Mr Johnson by liking his tweet. 

A source in the One Nation Tory bloc told the BBC’s Newsnight: ‘We want candidates to work with us to shape policy moving forward. Not just on Brexit but on everything.

‘The whole contest will be a big test for Boris to prove he actually can unite the party in the way he says he can.’ 

Boris Johnson hailed a set of 'One Nation Conservative' principles drawn up by dozens of moderate MPs, insisting on Twitter: 'Agree with all of this.'

Boris Johnson hailed a set of 'One Nation Conservative' principles drawn up by dozens of moderate MPs, insisting on Twitter: 'Agree with all of this.'

Boris Johnson hailed a set of ‘One Nation Conservative’ principles drawn up by dozens of moderate MPs, insisting on Twitter: ‘Agree with all of this.’

Mr Johnson prospects could also have been boosted by a poll of Labour activists suggesting he is the opponent they most fear at the next election

Mr Johnson prospects could also have been boosted by a poll of Labour activists suggesting he is the opponent they most fear at the next election

Mr Johnson prospects could also have been boosted by a poll of Labour activists suggesting he is the opponent they most fear at the next election








Mr Johnson prospects could also have been boosted by a poll of Labour activists suggesting he is the opponent they most fear at the next election. 

However, the rising Tory tensions were underlined by claims that allies of Mr Johnson are ready to launch a legal challenge if MPs block him from the final ballot. 

Under the contest’s rules, MPs whittle the candidates down to two, with activists choosing the winner. 

But an ally of Mr Johnson told the Sun: ‘We have legal advice that was drawn up for Boris that proves if members want a chance to vote on him in big numbers, MPs and CCHQ cannot stop that.’ 

Aides to Mr Johnson denied any knowledge of the legal advice, saying it was ‘total nonsense’. 

Around 60 Tory MPs have signed up to the One Nation principles, which were drawn up by Mrs May’s former policy chief George Freeman.

 

 

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