MPs in eurosceptic ERG 'will vote against' May's Brexit deal in June

Clay Curtis
May 15, 2019

The Withdrawal Agreement Bill will be introduced in parliament in the week beginning 3 June - the same week as Donald Trump's state visit and a crucial by-election in Peterborough - leaving just three weeks to find a Commons majority on Brexit.

She also held face-to-face talks with Jeremy Corbyn in her Commons office on Tuesday night to warn him that time was running out for him to agree a cross-party Brexit deal.

Presumably the PM and ministers have noticed that mortgaging the UK's Brexit future to Jeremy Corbyn is haemorrhaging the Tory vote.

Her plans emerged after a lengthy meeting of the Cabinet set the start of the parliamentary summer recess in late July as the deadline for MPs to pass the much-delayed Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

May met with Corbyn "to make clear our determination to bring the talks to a conclusion and deliver on the referendum result to leave the EU".

Following the meeting, a Downing Street spokesman said: "We will... be bringing forward the withdrawal agreement bill in the week beginning the 3rd June".

"Tomorrow talks will continue at an official level as we seek the stable majority in Parliament that will ensure the safe passage of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill and the UK's swift exit from the European Union". It seems absurd to bring it back.

Progress has been painfully slow, and there are growing calls in May's Conservative party to abandon the process.

"We haven't seen the significant shift yet that we require to be able to support a deal", Labour's second most powerful man, finance chief John McDonnell, said on Tuesday.

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"What she (May) is working to do is to get a deal passed as soon as possible", the spokesman said.

Allies of the Prime Minister attempted to calm Tory fears about the prospect of a damaging split in the party over a customs union - Labour's key demand in the talks.

The signatories include Gavin Williamson, who she sacked as defence secretary, as well as potential leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab.

"We believe that a customs union-based deal with Labour will very likely lose the support of Conservative MPs", the letter said.

"Talks this evening between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition were both useful and constructive".

Theresa May has set the start of June as the next Brexit flashpoint, publishing legislation to implement the UK's exit from the European Union in a desperate last roll of the dice to end the political paralysis.

Referring to the prospect of a new Tory leader tearing up any agreement, he added: "Our big problem now is, if we are going to march our troops in Parliament to the top of the hill to vote for a deal and then that's overturned within weeks, I think that would be a cataclysmic act of bad faith".

But it would mean the United Kingdom can not negotiate its own trade deals on goods with other countries around the world, something many Brexit-supporting Tory MPs support.

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