Ex-minister backs new Brexit vote as eurosceptics pressure May

May bows to Brexit pressure in parliament

British prime minister Theresa May will face yet another rebellion on Tuesday (17 July) in parliament, this time from her pro-EU Conservative MPs who are upset that the premier caved into hardline Brexiteer demands on Monday, increasing the chances for a no-deal divorce from the EU.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary private secretary at the Treasury, the North Cornwall MP Scott Mann, announced he was resigning yesterday in protest at what he called a "watered-down Brexit". Her authority has been weakened with the resignations of major figures Boris Johnson and David Davis and a series of lesser officials who disagree with her Brexit plan. He said that he had taken the "very hard decision" to resign "to express discontent" in votes.

Many are in mutinous mood, and eight MPs have given up government and party posts in just over a week over Brexit.

But, if she chooses to fight and then sees a large number of her own party rebel, it would undermine her leadership and cast fresh doubt on whether she can deliver the Brexit plan agreed by her cabinet this month at her Chequers country residence.

Reports at the weekend suggested that about 40 of the 48 MPs needed had lodged no-confidence letters with the chairman of the party's backbench 1922 Committee after May had indicated that the United Kingdom was prepared to sign up to a "common rule book" for food and goods after Brexit.

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr, May indicated she would seek to fight off any challenge that emerged before the summer recess, saying: "I want to focus people's minds on how you ensure you achieve that prize, the benefits of leaving the European Union".

She said that would remove Britain's ability to have an independent trade policy and her government "will never stand for that".

Remain MPs were left furious last night after four amendments to a tax bill, tabled by hard-line Brexit lobby group European Research Group, were backed by Mrs May.

Mrs May has repeatedly ruled out being in a customs union with Brussels after Brexit on the grounds it would leave Britain too closely tied to the EU. It is a technical bill and was not originally meant to define new trade policy.

Asked if Labour would back May's Brexit blueprint, the main opposition party's deputy leader Tom Watson told Sky News television: "We've not decided our voting position on the legislation that would enable it, but in its current form it's not good enough".



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