Brexit betrayal as Theresa May's Cabinet allies hold secret talks with Labour MPs about a second referendum

Brexit betrayal as Theresa May's Cabinet allies hold secret talks with Labour MPs about a second referendum

December 9, 2018

The Prime Minister's deputy David Lidington, and Justice Secretary David Gauke, have been in talks with Labour politicians to see if there was support for a second vote – or a Norway-style deal.

Allies told the Sunday Times that most MPs are likely to get behind a second Brexit referendum, further dividing Britain.

Civil servants have reportedly been drawing up possible scenarios – including leave and remain, or a second option on whether to back May's deal or leave on World Trade Organisation terms.

The PM has publicly ruled out another vote on Brexit time and time again.

One minister told the paper he would quit and back a second referendum if the vote went ahead as planned on Tuesday.

And defence minister Tobias Ellwood hinted he could back another vote too if Mrs May's deal gets crushed in the Commons.

He said: "If parliament does not agree a Brexit deal soon, then we must recognise that the original mandate to leave, taken over two years ago, will begin to date and will, eventually, no longer represent a reflection of current intent."

One cabinet minister told The Observer that the PM was so committed to the deal that "a second referendum could now be the only way of getting it".

Later today Remainer MPs will hold a rally in central London to gather support for another vote.

There has been speculation the crunch vote could be delayed to win over MPs.

But today Theresa May's Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said it WOULD go ahead as planned on Tuesday.

The news comes as:

  • The PM warned that MPs have to back her plan or Jeremy Corbyn could get into No10 before Christmas
  • Boris Johnson laid out his bid to become PM, and said he wouldn't pay the EU a penny unless they dropped the hated Northern Ireland backstop
  • Tories have been telling MPs that the PM will resign next Spring after Brexit if they back her deal
  • Labour said they were ready to form a government as early as Wednesday if the Government falls
  • But they backed away from saying they would table a vote of no confidence in the Government as was planned

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett told Sky's Ridge on Sunday: "let's see what happens".

He said the party were "ready to form a minority government if necessary" and would "reset the negotiations" if it got into power.

Science minister Sam Gyimah and Universities minister Jo Johnson have both quit the government in the last month and called for a second vote on Brexit.

Several other ministers and whips are also said to be on the verge of walking out too.

Last night Gavin Williamson's PPS Will Quince quit, and Liam Fox's private secretary is also considering quitting too.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is considering a Margaret Thatcher style dash to Brussels to seek more concessions for her Brexit deal, which could mean her crunch vote is postponed.

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