Dutch and German leaders humiliate Theresa May by rejecting any changes to Brexit deal

THERESA MAY was left humiliated yesterday as the Dutch and Germans rejected any “tweaks” to her Brexit deal just hours after cross-Channel talks.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte warned his country’s firms to “prepare for the worst” following a phone call with the PM on Thursday night.

Mark Rutte
Dutch PM Mark Rutte has rejected any tweaks to May’s Brexit deal

And Germany’s foreign Minister Heiko Mass said Angela Merkel had told the PM she was “very clear” the Brexit agreement can’t be changed.

It came with just eight days for Mrs May to save Brexit with a Plan B that can secure a Commons majority on January 29.

In another day of dramatic developments yesterday…

  • Sources claimed Theresa May was exploring a fresh bid to remove the hated Irish border ‘backstop’ from her EU Brexit deal.
  • Cabinet Ministers urged the PM in Downing Street talks to solve the Brexit deadlock by winning over 121 Tory and DUP rebels rather than courting Labour.
  • The PM once more ruled out joining the EU customs union in the meetings with Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid and others.
  • But Tory ‘Remain’ MPs led by Sarah Wollaston vowed to table an amendment calling for a second referendum in the Commons next week.

Theresa May suffered the biggest Commons defeat in history on Tuesday when her Brexit deal was rejected by a thumping 230 votes.

But arch Eurosceptics yesterday held out hope she could win back Tory MPs by reopening the deal to modify demands over the backstop.

Under the backstop, the UK and Northern Ireland would be tied to EU customs rules until a new trade agreement is signed. One Cabinet Minister yesterday said they believed the DUP would vote for the deal if the PM could secure a legally binding time-limit from Brussels.

Theresa May held meetings with two different groups of Cabinet Ministers in No.10 yesterday.

But she infuriated pro-EU Tories by failing to call a trio of Cabinet ‘Remainers’ – Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Justice Secretary David Gauke or Business Secretary Greg Clark.

All three have been outspoken in warning of the dangers of No Deal.

Mrs May also spoke with Euro chiefs Jean Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk yesterday. She is due to table a motion on Monday before presenting her ‘Plan B’ to the Commons before votes on January 29.

Sarah Wollaston yesterday told The Sun, supporters of a second referendum would seek to amend her motion by asking for a People’s Vote.

Insiders said as many as 180 MPs across the House are so far thought to support one.

A Labour Shadow Minister yesterday broke cover to demand Jeremy Corbyn come off the fence and support a second referendum.

The Shadow Sports Minister Rosena Allin-Khan said: “Jeremy Corbyn can become the leading voice in the campaign for a public vote, really shaping what the referendum would look like.”

Theresa May
Theresa May is due to table a motion on Monday before presenting a ‘Plan B’ to the Commons
Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel has said the Brexit deal cannot be changed


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