Theresa May prepares last-ditch appeal on deal as MPs return to parliament

Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images
Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images
Have your say

Theresa May will face a grilling on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning with little to offer Tory MPs refusing to back her Brexit deal, and with opposition parties stepping up a bid to oust her from Downing Street.

Ahead of parliament’s return tomorrow, former Cabinet minister Sir John Redwood said a no-deal Brexit “will work just fine” despite the “idiotic” warnings about potential shortages of food and medicines.

On the other side of the divide, pro-EU veteran Ken Clarke said May’s deal – which he would be prepared to support – is “dying” and he would be “amazed” if the mood of MPs had changed over the Christmas break. Instead, he called for Brexit to be delayed until a way forward can be found.

Debate on May’s Brexit deal is set to resume on Wednesday, with the rescheduled vote the following week. However, there is speculation the government may be forced into another delay, given the likelihood of defeat.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford called on opposition MPs to put their names to a motion of no-confidence in the government, seeking to add to the pressure on May.

“It is now clear beyond doubt the Prime Minister’s tactic is to run down the clock and deprive Parliament of any alternative to her Brexit proposals, bringing the prospect of a no-deal disaster closer,” Blackford said.

“The Prime Minister assured MPs she would be working on new, last minute add-ons to her Brexit deal, yet, as predicted, Brussels has said it is not interested. Ludicrously, we are in exactly the same situation now as before Christmas with the Tory government again facing defeat, but having wasted a month of precious time.”

Meanwhile, the campaign for a second EU referendum that could cancel Brexit will be stepped up in Scotland from next week. Scotland for a People’s Vote has unveiled a new director, the former Conservative Party organiser and academic Kerry Buist, and announced plans for an action day on 12 January and a rally for a new EU referendum in Edinburgh on 26 January.

Labour MP Ian Murray said: “Scotland can play a crucial role in the campaign for a People’s Vote and help pile the pressure on Theresa May.

“The Prime Minister’s deal is dead, and ahead of this month’s vote her Tory Brexiteers are now openly talking up the terrifying prospect of a no-deal scenario.

“Every political party that campaigned for Remain must now get behind the People’s Vote campaign.”

But Environment Secretary Michael Gove dismissed the prospect of Brexit being reversed, telling the Times: “I think if there were another referendum Leave would win by an even bigger majority and be even stronger.”