Cabinet trio: MPs will stop no-deal Brexit
A trio of pro-EU Cabinet ministers have issued a blunt warning to Tory Brexiteers that Parliament will prevent them forcing a “disastrous” no-deal break with the EU.
Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Gauke said the Brexiteers in the European Research Group (ERG) will only have themselves to blame if Britain’s departure from the EU is delayed.
Their comments are likely to be seen as a thinly veiled warning they could defy the Prime Minister Theresa May to back moves by MPs to prevent a no-deal Brexit in next week’s crunch Commons vote.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly insisted Britain will leave on March 29 as planned.
But writing in the Daily Mail, the Work and Pensions Secretary, the Business Secretary and the Justice Secretary said it was clear that a majority of MPs would support an extension to the Article 50 withdrawal rather than see a no-deal break.
“If there is no breakthrough in the coming week, the balance of opinion in Parliament is clear – that it would be better to seek to extend Article 50 and delay our date of departure rather than crash out of the European Union on March 29,” they said.
“It is time that many of our Conservative party colleagues in the ERG recognise that Parliament will stop a disastrous no-deal Brexit on March 29.
“If that happens, they will have no-one to blame but themselves for delaying Brexit.”
Moderate Conservative MPs have already written to Chief Whip Julian Smith to warn they are ready to vote for a delay to the UK’s March 29 exit if the “intransigence” of hard-line Brexiteers means Mrs May’s deal is again rejected by the House.
On Wednesday, the Commons is expected to consider an amendment tabled by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Conservative former minister Sir Oliver Letwin enabling the House to extend the Article 50 withdrawal process if there is no deal by mid March.
A similar amendment was defeated by MPs last month, but there is speculation that enough Tory rebels, alarmed that there is still no deal in place, could be prepared to back it this time round for it to pass.