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22 Jan, 2019 12:45

Theresa May warned of mass resignations if she blocks vote to stop no-deal Brexit

Theresa May warned of mass resignations if she blocks vote to stop no-deal Brexit

UK Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has warned PM Theresa May that she faces up to 40 cabinet resignations, if she fails to allow ministers to vote on a plan that could block a no-deal Brexit, the Times reports.

According to the paper, pro-EU Rudd has intimated that unless May allows a free vote on a Brexit amendment, tabled by backbench MPs Yvette Cooper and Nick Boles, which calls for Article 50 to be extended if no deal is reached by February 26, then mass resignations could follow.

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Rudd has reportedly argued that giving Tory MPs a free vote on the amendment will strengthen May’s hand in negotiations with the EU and avoid a raft of resignations.

A source told the Times: “Now is the time for them [MPS] to get on the stage and show what they would support. If done properly this could help the Prime Minister to go to Brussels in a stronger position.”

Business Minister Richard Harrington confirmed on Monday that he would quit the government if ‘no-deal’ became the official policy. Digital and Culture Minister Margot James and Defense Minister Tobias Ellwood would also consider their positions, according to the Times.

Ellwood has hinted on social media that he would like the opportunity to vote on extending Article 50.

The government’s chief whip, Julian Smith, will decide whether or not to give Tory MPs a free vote by the end of the week.

During May’s statement in the House of Commons on Monday, where she was expected to lay out her alternative Brexit plan but instead reaffirmed her eagerness to tweak her ‘plan A’ by pushing for EU concessions on the Irish backstop, the PM refused to rule out no-deal.

She said: “The right way to rule out no-deal is for the House to approve a deal with the European Union, and that is what the Government are seeking to achieve.”

The PM hit out at those calling for Article 50 to be extended, arguing that such a move would be “simply deferring the point of decision.” Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn told May to rule out no-deal and claimed she was in denial about the severity of the defeat of her Brexit deal in Parliament last week.

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