Ex-minister backs new Brexit vote as eurosceptics pressure May

Marco Green
July 18, 2018

Ms Greening, the former education secretary, said the nation should be asked to decide between three options: Mrs May's plan for a softer Brexit, a hard "no deal" Brexit and staying in the European Union.

"This government is in grave danger of not just losing the plot but losing a considerable amount of support from the people of this country unless we get Brexit right", she said.

May's dismissal of the idea was prompted by a Conservative, Justine Greening, who wrote in the Times of London that the "only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians" with a second vote, which would give citizens three options: sticking with May's vision of a "Soft Brexit", remain in the European Union after all, or leave the bloc with no deal. Greening, who resigned after the cabinet reshuffle in January, said the referendum should offer a first and second preference vote so that a consensus can be reached.

Her intervention is also another blow for May's plan for close ties with the European Union, which had already come under fire from Conservatives who want a clean break. It prompted the resignation of two of the cabinet's leading Brexiteers, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

If the amendment had passed it would have thrown May's Brexit strategy into disarray and increased pressure on the already beleaguered leader.

May warned party rebels on Sunday they should fall into line, saying wrecking her Brexit blueprint could result in disaster.

This latest Commons vote on Brexit followed chaos in Westminster on Monday when May was forced to ditch her own Brexit policy in order to avoid a defeat at the hands of pro-Leave MPs led by the backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg.

"Labour is clear that a new comprehensive customs union with the EU after Brexit is the best way to protect jobs, the economy and to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland".

British prime minister Theresa May will face yet another rebellion on Tuesday (17 July) in parliament, this time from her pro-EU Conservative MPs who are upset that the premier caved into hardline Brexiteer demands on Monday, increasing the chances for a no-deal divorce from the EU.

The amendments seek to limit the government's ability to set up the customs arrangements May has advocated, which would keep close ties to Europe. "If we don't, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all", she wrote in an article in the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

"The inevitable outcome of the parliamentary arithmetic is that she will need to change it to keep the party united", he told BBC television.

Brexiteers believe that keeps Britain too close to the European Union, while pro-Europeans think it fails to protect the country's dominant services sector, among other gripes.

On Monday, he was among those supporting amendments to a customs bill created to toughen the Chequers deal and reduce May's scope to make concessions when she negotiates with the European Union.

But one MP told AFP they would likely not push it to a vote on Monday, instead waiting to see what the eurosceptics do.

The skirmishes are expected to continue Tuesday when a different trade bill is debated.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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