Prime minister warned of Tory revolt to block no-deal Brexit
PUBLISHED: 14:53 22 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:00 22 February 2019
Theresa May has been warned she could face a mass revolt of Conservative MPs if the country appears on course for a no-deal Brexit.
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The leaders of the 100-strong Brexit Delivery Group of moderate Conservatives wrote to chief whip Julian Smith setting out widespread discontent at the prospect of a no-deal departure.
Andrew Percy, one of the group’s leaders, said dozens of his colleagues would be prepared to vote for measures to delay the March 29 exit date if the “intransigence” of hard-line Brexiteers meant May’s deal is again rejected by MPs.
Fresh Brexit talks have been scheduled for early next week as May heads towards another Commons showdown on her EU withdrawal stance. It is expected to take place on Wednesday.
In comments apparently aimed at the European Research Group wing of Brexiteers, Percy warned they risked the prospect of Brexit not happening at all unless they compromised and backed a deal.
“Some of my colleagues have got to recognise that the game they have thus far been playing with regards to this whole process is not going to end well for them and could potentially end with the delaying of, perhaps even no Brexit - which some of us have spent a lot of our parliamentary and political careers campaigning for,” he said.
Any move by members of the Brexit Delivery Group would be contingent on it becoming clear any revised deal brought back to the Commons would not be passed.
In their letter, leaked to the Daily Telegraph, Percy and co-leader Simon Hart said: “Numerous members of our group have alerted us to their intention (should rejection of the deal look likely) to get behind amendments that are planned in the name of Oliver Letwin and others and which will have the twin effect of taking no deal off the table and delaying Brexit.”
They urged the government to consider a free vote so that the MPs could express their views without the damage of a rebellion.
In a further indication of how high the stakes are, up to 25 members of the government are prepared to rebel and vote for a Brexit delay - something that would require them to resign - unless Mrs May rules out a no-deal scenario, according to the Guardian.
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