Brexit: David Mundell asks to meet Theresa May over referendum fears

Scottish Secretary David Mundell
Scottish Secretary David Mundell
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Scottish Secretary David Mundell has requested a meeting with the Prime Minister to voice concerns that her plan to give MPs a vote on whether to hold a second EU referendum will be exploited by the SNP to push for Scottish independence.

Mr Mundell is understood to be concerned that appearing to offer a second EU referendum will add to calls for Scotland to be given the power to hold a second independence vote.

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News of the meeting comes as several other ministers are reported to be seeking an audience with the Prime Minister to discuss her future after her 'new deal' on Brexit, set out in a speech on Tuesday and a Commons statement today, was roundly rejected by Conservative and opposition MPs.

Sources close to Mr Mundell said the Prime Minister's future was not the purpose of the meeting, but one said he was realistic about the amount of time she has remaining in Downing Street.

On Tuesday, Scottish Tory MP Ross Thomson said he would switch back to opposing the Prime Minister's Brexit deal, posting on twitter: "I will not support the PM’s new deal that enables a second EU referendum. To do so only serves to do the SNP’s dirty work for them with their indyref2 drive".

At Prime Minister's Questions, Theresa May was jeered by SNP MPs after telling the party's Westminster leader Ian Blackford that "there is only one party in Scotland guaranteeing no more referendums, and that is the Conservative party."

There is growing speculation that the Prime Minister could be forced to scrap plans to hold a vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) in the first week of June, and confirm that she will stand down after European election results that are expected to be deeply damaging for the Conservatives.

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Mrs May's official spokesman admitted the party was expecting a "challenging night" when the votes are counted on Sunday, but said the Prime Minister would not resign if the Tories dip below 10% support.

The Prime Minister received little support from her MPs during PMQs, and the Tory benches were largely empty as she confirmed to the Commons that the WAB would be published on Friday, the day after ballots are cast in the European elections.