PM makes desperate last-ditch plea to MPs ahead of Commons showdown

Theresa May (pictured at church yesterday) is urging Tory Eurosceptics to look at the mounting revolt by Remainers, and realise that Parliament is ready to block the country from crashing out

Theresa May (pictured at church yesterday) is urging Tory Eurosceptics to look at the mounting revolt by Remainers, and realise that Parliament is ready to block the country from crashing out

Theresa May (pictured at church yesterday) is urging Tory Eurosceptics to look at the mounting revolt by Remainers, and realise that Parliament is ready to block the country from crashing out

Theresa May will launch a last-ditch bid to win round MPs to her Brexit deal today – warning that voting it down will probably mean staying in the EU.

The Prime Minister is urging Tory Eurosceptics to look at the mounting revolt by Remainers, and realise that Parliament is ready to block the country from crashing out.

In a speech just 36 hours before the titanic Commons showdown, Mrs May will plead with MPs to consider the ‘consequences’ of their actions for people’s faith in democracy.

The desperate entreaty comes as tensions escalate in Westminster ahead of the vote on the Brexit package she has thrashed out with Brussels.

Mrs May looks to be on track for a catastrophic defeat – with frantic manoeuvring under way over what happens next.

A dozen Tory former ministers including Boris Johnson have urged wavering colleagues to stand firm against the deal, saying leaving on World Trade Organisation terms would not be a disaster. 

But Remainers from across parties are plotting an extraordinary bid to seize control from the government if it tries to push ahead with a no-deal Brexit. Conservative MP Nick Boles today confirmed plans to tear up Commons rules so MPs could propose legislation – something the government currently has power over.   

Ministers fear Speaker John Bercow would help the rebellion. Last week he flouted procedural convention to select an amendment from Tory former minister Dominic Grieve which attempts to speed up the process for the Government to reveal what it will do next if the PM’s Brexit deal is rejected. 

Speaking in Stoke-on-Trent, Mrs May will say she now believes if her deal is defeated, MPs blocking Brexit is more likely than leaving without a deal. 

The premier is expected to tell factory workers in pro-Leave Stoke-on-Trent on Monday: ‘I ask MPs to consider the consequences of their actions on the faith of the British people in our democracy.

‘Imagine if an anti-devolution House of Commons had said to the people of Scotland or Wales that despite voting in favour of a devolved legislature, Parliament knew better and would overrule them. Or else force them to vote again.

‘What if we found ourselves in a situation where Parliament tried to take the UK out of the EU in opposition to a remain vote?

‘People’s faith in the democratic process and their politicians would suffer catastrophic harm.

‘We all have a duty to implement the result of the referendum.’

A dozen Tory former ministers including Boris Johnson (pictured in London today) have urged wavering colleagues to stand firm against the deal

A dozen Tory former ministers including Boris Johnson (pictured in London today) have urged wavering colleagues to stand firm against the deal

A dozen Tory former ministers including Boris Johnson (pictured in London today) have urged wavering colleagues to stand firm against the deal

No10 also believes Sir Oliver Letwin (pictured) is behind the plot to overhaul Commons rules

No10 also believes Sir Oliver Letwin (pictured) is behind the plot to overhaul Commons rules

The amendment tabled by Mr Grieve (pictured) flew in the face of usual Commons procedure, and led to the PM's second major setback in 24 hours

The amendment tabled by Mr Grieve (pictured) flew in the face of usual Commons procedure, and led to the PM's second major setback in 24 hours

No10 believes Sir Oliver Letwin (pictured left) and Dominic Grieve are the main figures behind the plot to overhaul Commons rules

A dozen leading Brexiteers – including eight former members of Theresa May’s Cabinet – have written to all Conservative MPs urging them to vote against the Prime Minister’s deal.

In a joint letter sent to every Tory MP, former ministers including Boris Johnson, David Davis and Dominic Raab call upon Mrs May to stage one final attempt to persuade the EU to drop the Irish backstop which threatens to halt Britain’s exit from the custom union indefinitely.

But if the EU fails to comply on agreeing such a deal, the Britain must ‘have the confidence’ to leave on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms on March 29.

The letter is also signed by other former Cabinet members including Iain Duncan Smith, Esther McVey and Priti Patel.

They write: ‘It is right to vote down this bad deal and that in doing so we will unlock a better future for our party, our country and its people.’

They add: ‘A managed WTO Brexit may give rise to some short-term inconvenience and disruption, but the much greater risks arise from being locked into a very bad deal.’

Boris Johnson repeats the message in his column in the Daily Telegraph today, where he writes: ‘This deal is still the worst of both worlds, by which we somehow leave the EU but end up being run by the EU. It is still a complete stinker.’

Warning his fellow MPs about trying to force a second referendum, he adds: ‘If they now engage in ludicrous parliamentary jiggery pokery, endlessly tabling amendments designed to frustrate Brexit, they will risk a very serious backlash indeed.

‘The answer is not to leave it to Parliament; the answer is for the executive to do its job, as some of us have been advising for months: to accept that the deal is dead, and to move on.’

On the BBC's Andrew Marr show yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn made clear the party is on high alert to try to force the PM out and a general election

On the BBC's Andrew Marr show yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn made clear the party is on high alert to try to force the PM out and a general election

On the BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn made clear the party is on high alert to try to force the PM out and a general election

 

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