powerful Commons Brexit committee will rip her deal to shreds today.
And the PM’s claim that her Plan A is the only letter in the Cabinet’s alphabet was undermined by close ally Amber Rudd, with a Plan B.
Work and Pensions Secretary Ms Rudd took to the airwaves to proclaim a Norway-plus option. This would see the UK retain access to the EU’s single market and also join a customs union.
Ms Rudd says she’s behind Mrs May’s plan but told Radio 4: “I’m just pointing out that if you don’t vote for it, these are the other things that could happen.”
The other things that WOULD happen under the Norway model are continuing, unlimited EU migration and a hefty annual payment to Brussels. Brexiteers would hit the roof. Even Ms Rudd saw she had gone too far and a DWP official broke protocol by entering the political arena.
He sent an extraordinary press release after Ms Rudd had been on the Today programme saying: “She is fully behind the PM’s Brexit deal and is warning MPs about the potential impact on jobs of voting against.”
Ms Rudd is one of eight jockeying for Mrs May’s job. The others are Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab,
Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt, Andrea Leadsom and Michael Gove.
Commons leader Ms Leadsom and Home Secretary Mr Javid sparked fevered speculation that they would run on a joint ticket by sending MPs invites to a Christmas party to be hosted by them a week tomorrow.
International Development Secretary Ms Mordaunt raised eyebrows when she followed a dozen local Tory associations on Twitter last week. She would need their backing in a leadership contest. One MP said her strings A POWERFUL committee of MPs today savages Theresa May’s Brexit deal as a leap into the unknown.
They say Britain will be unable to leave the EU on March 29 next year and Article 50 must be extended.
The MPs – from Labour, the Tories, the Scottish and Welsh Nats, Lib
Dems and DUP – all sit on the
Commons Brexit committee. Their unanimous report makes uncomfortable reading for the
PM this morning.
They have considered the two documents which Mrs May negotiated with Europe. These are the legally binding withdrawal agreement, which cannot be touched, and the political declaration, which provides a framework for our future EU relationship. The report rips both to shreds.
It says: “The PM’s deal fails to offer sufficient clarity or certainty for the future of the UK.”
The committee chairman, former shadow Foreign were being pulled by Environment Secretary Michael Gove in return for a promise to make him Chancellor.
Jeremy Corbyn is now trying to forge a deal between Labour, rebel Tories and the DUP which would see Mrs May toppled.
Parliamentary number-crunchers say that if they all ganged up on the PM, she would lose a confidence vote by ONE – 313 votes to 312. And that’s if all Tory MPs stay loyal.
Mrs May would then have 14 days to win another confidence vote but as the deadline lands on Christmas Day the process would most likely be wrapped up before the Parliamentary recess begins on December 20.
If Mrs May loses a final confidence vote, and Mr Corbyn does not become PM by winning one, there would have to be a General Election on Thursday, January 10 – and no one wants that. There will be 12 amendments to the Secretary Hilary Benn, says: “It’s because the Government refused to face up to hard choices that this deal represents a huge step into the unknown.”
The political declaration is slammed for not giving UK business any idea of what awaits it ten years from now.
And the MPs warn that activation of the Irish backstop would set up barriers to UK-EU trade, bringing “the threat of significant economic disruption”.
They say no future deal with the EU can be certain because any one of the remaining 27 member states can veto it.
Mr Benn’s committee says the PM must establish how far the deal will follow EU rules to maintain frictionless trade. The report adds: “It’s not a choice the Government is so far willing to make.”
With so much still to be decided, Brexit will have to be postponed, the MPs say.
They declare: “The Brexit process will not be concluded by March 2019.” main motion on Tuesday but the Speaker will select no more than six.
They will range from staying in a permanent customs union to cancelling Article 50 which takes us out of the EU on March 29 next year.
Tories Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston yesterday told the Sunday Mirror they will table proposals for a second referendum immediately Mrs May withdraws the vote, or loses it.
Tory grandee Lord Heseltine yesterday became the latest big beast to back a People’s Vote. The former Deputy PM said: “Our opponents are calling us traitors. But we are the British patriots.”
Mrs May was hit by another Brexit resignation last night when Will Quince quit as Parliamentary aide to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.
Our opponents are calling us traitors. But we are the British patriots
LORD HESELTINE , DEMANDING A PEOPLE’S VOTE
BREXIT BLOCK Sign of the times at Parliament ATTACK Committee’s chairman Hilary Benn
OFF-MESSAGE Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd