Theresa May is set to face intense pressure from remain-minded Conservative MPs to finally face down hardline Brexiters in her party after a planned restatement of a departure method concurred 2 weeks earlier by the Commons was defeated.
Abstentions by MPs from the pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG) played a big part in seeing the government motion voted down after the Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, was not able to encourage them it did not take a no-deal departure off the table.
While May loyalists scrambled to play down the value of the vote, independently MPs and even some ministers raged at the ERG and insistent the prime minister needed to alter course in the coming days.
” There is a degree of wishful thinking going on that the EU can ever do enough to please the Brexit extremists,” one minister stated.
” She wishes to try to square the circle and it’s just not looking most likely. She has a choice: seek the arrangement across your home or the country will be out without a deal. They do not jeopardize, they never ever have.”
Ahead of another promised federal government Brexit motion at the end of the month, a variety of ministers are understood to be considering electing amendments that could meaningfully stop no deal or extend post 50, such as one proposed previously by Yvette Cooper.
“[May] is stressed over splitting the celebration but the celebration might split either method,” the minister stated. “She must be worried about our side of the celebration. In parliament there is no place else for the ERG to go but there is possibly elsewhere for the stay wing to go, we are more most likely to activate an adjustment.”
A cabinet source said: “Once once again the ERG have made life hell for the prime minister and put their own fantasies in the method of pragmatic politics.”
One former minister said the “fake consensus” in the party around the Brady modification had actually been exposed by Wednesday night’s vote. “It was never ever going to last. She needs to pick. Either she’s serious about doing a no deal if required, in which case she’s a Ukip prime minister, and keeps the ERG onside but fractures the remainder of the celebration, or she rules it out and she’s a Conservative PM but loses the ERG. At the moment she’s no place and pleasing nobody. It’s about options. And she will not make one.”
Others were as outspoken in public. After the defeat Nick Boles, the Grantham MP who has actually been main to efforts to avoid no offer, tweeted: “Possibly, just perhaps, the penny will now drop with prime minister and her chief whip that the hardliners in the ERG desire a no-deal Brexit and will stop at nothing to get it.”
Tory MP Heidi Allen stated it was clear the Eurosceptics were now planning to force a no-deal Brexit. “The ERG, as much of us have been stating to the prime minister for well over a year now, are in control and constantly have actually been,” she said.
” Their tactical plan has been unwavering from the beginning in its determination to accomplish no offer. Parliament must be provided the opportunity to take control of the process and try and coalesce around a softer Brexit position. If this is not possible, as is highly likely, we need to put the concern back to the general public.”
Anna Soubry, an anti-Brexit Tory MP, said she was “absolutely thrilled” the government concurred to release information of cabinet rundowns on the consequences of no deal, indicating she might withdraw her modification seeking this.
But Soubry told the BBC: “What an absolute fiasco this is. It’s an absence of management in both of our damaged celebrations, and frankly we require a various, better way of doing politics in this nation, and we need it now.”
Brexiter Tories blamed the defeat on what one, Bernard Jenkin, called “the federal government’s clumsiness”.
Steve Baker, deputy chair of the ERG, utilized a point of order after the vote result to advise May to devote her efforts to pressing the so-called Malthouse compromise, a strategy drawn up by a series of Conservative MPs to circumvent the controversial Irish border backstop through as-yet-unknown innovation to avoid custom-mades checks.
James Cleverly, a Conservative party vice-chair and a crucial May loyalist, insisted that MPs and the EU ought to check out “not very much” into the vote.
” The more significant votes were the votes we had last month which showed that your house didn’t concur with the initial draft of the withdrawal arrangement, made the point that the backstop was where the difficulty lay, and that if she were able to make amendments around the backstop, that would be something that would probably command a majority,” he informed the BBC.
The complex and precarious choreography for the federal government was obvious from the start of the opening speech in the debate, by Barclay.
While the mass of Tory MPs enjoyed with the primary aspect of the movement– charging May with looking for a modified departure offer– the other change passed a fortnight back, which looked for to eliminate no offer, was worrying Brexiters.
In what appeared like a prepared relocation, Barclay’s predecessor as Brexit secretary, David Davis, intervened in the speech to look for reassurance Brexit would happen on 29 March, whatever the scenarios. Barclay stated he was “very pleased” to do that.
While this was planned to mollify the ERG it prompted angry interventions from other Conservatives, including Caroline Spelman, whose amendment two weeks earlier had sought to stop no offer. It would be “contemptuous of this home” if Barclay sought to remove the elect her change, Spelman stated.
Justine Greening, the former education secretary, likewise raised her issues: “The reality is that the vote against no handle this house was more convincingly passed, including with cross-party support, than the vote to have the prime minister go back and work out on alternative arrangements. The government can’t simply just choose which votes it wishes to support.”