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Mar 26, 2019

Brexit latest news: Jacob Rees-Mogg suggests he will now back Theresa May's deal after MPs seize control

Jack Maidment, Political Correspondent 26 March 2019 • 11:35am

Tory MP who was wavering on PM's deal now says will back it

Ben Bradley, a Tory MP who voted for the Brexit deal at the second vote, subsequently said he was wavering after Theresa May agreed to delay the UK's departure from the EU.
But now he has said he will support the deal if and when there is a third meaningful vote.
He told the FT: "I'll back the deal because I honestly don't see another way forward now that's not a nightmare.
"Parliamentary control of this inevitably forces us in to a customs union that's worse that staying in the EU. If we want to leave this is not the only way."

Tory MP: 'A snap general election is becoming more likely'

John Baron, the MP for Basildon and Billericay, said: "I will continue to support my election promises of leaving the single market and the customs union, of keeping no-deal on the table and of leaving the EU as soon as possible, as anything short of this is not honouring the referendum result.
"A snap general election is becoming more likely. Whatever the outcome of the votes on Wednesday, the numbers inside the current remain-dominated House of Commons will not change.
"It may be that an election is necessary to redress the balance in favour of MPs willing to implement the referendum result, for history suggests it is unwise for any Parliament to distance itself from the people. The events of the next few weeks will be critical."

Pro-EU group accuses ERG of 'running scared'

Rupa Huq, the Labour MP and Best for Britain supporter, said: “Jacob Rees-Mogg and his gang are running scared. This is a humiliating u-turn.
“It’s a case of lions being led by donkeys. It must be incredibly confusing for his supporters; not long ago they were being told the Prime Minister’s deal would make us a ‘slave state’.
"In truth, he knows the momentum in parliament and in the country is for a public vote on Brexit, that’s why he’s now scrambling to change his tune."

Another Tory MP suggests they will now back PM's deal 

This is the dreadful conclusion I came to too - and said so at the ERG.
A new #PM can then negotiate a better and more distanced relationship with the #EU after #Brexit.
(Of course this is the least worst option but the only practical way forward for now.)
— Michael Fabricant (@Mike_Fabricant) March 26, 2019
. The practical alternatives are far worse that the Withdrawal Agreement including keeping us in the Customs Union and Single Market indefinitely so no control of immigration or having to obey #EU directives.
— Michael Fabricant (@Mike_Fabricant) March 26, 2019

Jacob Rees-Mogg hints he could back Theresa May's Brexit deal

The chairman of the European Research Group of Tory MPs said Mrs May would not deliver a no-deal Brexit.
Asked if therefore the choice he and his colleagues faced was between the PM's deal and no Brexit, Mr Rees-Mogg said: "That I think becomes the choice eventually. 
"Whether we are there yet is another matter but I have always thought that no deal is better than Mrs May's deal but Mrs May's deal is better than not leaving at all.
"There is a sort of hierarchy of choice and if the choice is the one you suggest then inevitably leaving the European Union, even leaving it inadequately and having work to do afterwards, is better than not leaving at all."
Mr Rees-Mogg seemed to go even further in a tweet when he said: "The choice seems to be Mrs May’s deal or no Brexit."
Mr Rees-Mogg also said he believed one Brexit delay could lead to another.
"That's obviously a risk, isn't it," he said during an appearance on a ConservativeHome podcast.

Matt Hancock warns 'stress' on constitution could put future UK prosperity at risk

The Health Secretary suggested the move by MPs to take control of what is debated in the House of Commons in order to hold "indicative votes" could have far reaching consequences.
He told the BBC: "Parliament has voted to decide for itself what is debated tomorrow, on one particular day.
"Of course it has also shown that it is willing to do that which breaks a convention and one of the things that I worry about is that in this process of deciding how to deliver Brexit... there are many, many parts of our constitution which are being stressed.
"We don't have a god-given right as a country to be successful in the 21st Century but I think we absolutely can be and must be.
"But one of the reasons we have been so successful over the past few generations as a country is because our constitution works well and is flexible and people respect it.
"When you start breaking those sorts of conventions then I worry to ensure that we can make sure this country succeeds in future with the constitutional principles that have served us so well."

Matt Hancock: Government will 'listen' on 'indicative votes' - but will not be bound by decision

The Health Secretary has put the pressure on Tory Brexiteers to back Theresa May's deal as he said the House of Commons had made clear it would never sign off on a no-deal divorce from the EU.
He said: "If anything, yesterday in the House of Commons demonstrated that the option of no-deal simply won't be allowed by the Commons and the best way through this impasse is the one deal that has been negotiated with the EU that can be delivered quickly now."
Mr Hancock said the Government would pay attention to whatever MPs decide through the "indicative votes" process but would not necessarily be bound by it.
He said: "Clearly we have got to listen to what the Commons says. Nobody even knows what the options are going to be. Today is going to be a debate about how the process will be run. Tomorrow a debate on the substance.
"Clearly it is incumbent on the Government to listen to what the Commons says but we can't pre-commit to following whatever they vote for because they might vote for something that is completely impractical.
"They might vote for two things that are incompatible. They might vote for nothing at all."
Mr Hancock said the Government could not agree to "absolutely whatever they pass".
Told the Government's position was "nonsense", the Health Secretary replied: "No, if the Commons voted for the sun to rise in the west, the Government wouldn't be able to implement that."

Michael Heseltine tells PM she is 'playing with fire' on Brexit votes

The Tory former deputy prime minister and supporter of a second Brexit referendum warned Theresa May against ignoring the will of the House of Commons.
"I think she is playing with fire when she says that she is not going to take any notice of what the House of Commons says," Lord Heseltine said.
Mrs May suggested on Monday that she would not necessarily be bound by the results of the forthcoming "indicative votes" process.
Lord Heseltine said a second public vote could break the Brexit impasse but he said he did not believe Mrs May's premiership could survive such a move and that she would be forced to quit.
He said: "I think her premiership has been hanging by the flimisest thread now for some weeks."

Alistair Burt: 'We have to come to a conclusion for the country’s sake'

The former Foreign Office minister who quit last night to back "indicative votes" said in a statement:
"With great sadness I resigned from the Government last night.
"Having accepted the result of the Referendum, I have worked and voted consistently for the best outcome for the country and constituency, which is to leave the EU with a good arrangement for the future.
"Despite the best and determined efforts of the Prime Minister, her Agreement with the EU continues to be rejected by Parliament. We are running out of time for an alternative, and the risk of leaving without a deal, and continuing serious and disruptive uncertainty is affecting the UK profoundly.
"Parliament should seek urgently to resolve the situation by considering alternatives freely, without the instruction of party whips, and Government should adopt any feasible outcome as its own in order to progress matters. I did not believe the Government was prepared to do that, so had to vote to ensure this happens.
"I remain a supporter of the Conservative Government, and the Prime Minister. But we have to come to a conclusion for the country’s sake."

Richard Harrington: 'Absurd' that MPs have not yet had chance to break Brexit impasse

The Tory former business minister who resigned on Monday evening to oppose the Government on the issue of indicative votes said he supported the move by Remain-backing MPs to address what he described as a "democratic deficit".
He suggested it was long past time for the House of Commons to have its say on the direction of Brexit.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It's absurd that now we are in a position of political impasse and... Parliament hasn't actually talked about it on the floor of the House of Commons.
"That's what I call a democratic deficit. And Parliament has got to talk about it."
Mr Harrington also said it would be legitimate to have a second Brexit referendum if MPs backed revoking Article 50, although he said he did not think such an eventuality would come to pass.
"I don't think that's likely," he said. "If that were the case then I think it would be very plausible for the Prime Minister then to say 'I don't want this because this is totally different from the last time the public were consulted in the first referendum'.
"Therefore, I feel it would be very legitimate before taking such a dramatic move as revoking Article 50 to have another referendum, to see where the public are at."

DUP MP criticises ERG MPs for softening stance on PM's Brexit deal

Jim Shannon, one of the DUP's 10 MPs, said he believed some members of the European Research Group of Tory Eurosceptic MPs were now backing Theresa May's deal because they view Brexit as more important than the Union.
He said the DUP's position had not changed and that it could not support the agreement unless the Irish border backstop issue was addressed. 
Asked about the prospect of the DUP doing a deal with the ERG not to back the agreement, Mr Shannon said: "Disappointingly from their point of view, some of those seem to have filtered away over the night.
"They have not all changed their opinion but they maybe see Brexit as the greater issue rather than the Union.
"We see the Union as the big issue, as the priority, and that is what we are focusing on."

Minister who quit over Brexit insists he still backs PM's deal

Steve Brine, who resigned as a health minister to back the proposal for so-called "indicative votes", told the BBC: "I will still, as I said in my letter to the Prime Minister... I will still support her deal.
"I still think it is the best of the options.
"Maybe what last night will do is focus some minds... those on my side who don't like the deal, maybe they will realise that the House of Commons is prepared to act.
"And, anything from here, as far as they are concerned, gets softer in terms of Brexit."
Mr Brine said: "If the House of Commons just simply cannot come up with anything to move us out of this then everything is on the table.
"You have to accept that a second referendum or revoking Article 50 are on the table because they will probably be some options."

Indicative votes: MPs will be able to 'vote for as many as you like'

MPs have to take responsibility for the Brexit process because the Government is not doing its job, Hilary Benn has said.
Mr Benn, who is chairman of the Commons Exiting the European Union Committee, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "If the Government isn't going to do its job then Parliament is going to have to take responsibility, and that is what we are doing on Wednesday."
Referring to the process for the indicative Commons votes planned for Wednesday, Mr Benn said: "The first time round it will just be 'here are the propositions' and you vote for as many as you would like."
Mr Benn added: "And then we will see the results from Wednesday night.
"The motion that we will move tomorrow suggests that we go through a similar process next Monday.
"There will obviously be discussions between MPs looking at the results of what has happened on Wednesday night. Which are the most popular options?
"We may then change the system for next week as we are trying to narrow it down."

Source: The Telegraph

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