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WATCH: Chequers deal collapse could trigger second Brexit referendum, warns Tory minister

WATCH: Chequers deal collapse could trigger second Brexit referendum, warns Tory minister

Liz Bates

3 min read

Tory MPs planning to torpedo Theresa May’s Chequers deal could be paving the way for a second Brexit referendum, a Conservative minister has warned.

Treasury Minister Mel Stride told Sky News that voting down the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan in the Commons could prompt a second vote and risk the UK “not leaving the EU altogether”.

Hardline Tory MPs have condemnded the blueprint - arguing it leaves Britain too closely tied to the bloc - with some vowing to reject it when it comes before the Commons. 

But Mr Stride said: “When we have a firm deal on the table I suspect that those to the right of the party, the pro-Brexit wing, will be very concerned that if that deal doesn’t prevail then we’ll end up in a situation where we could end up with a second referendum and we could end up not leaving the EU altogether.

“So, there’s a danger of that happening if Chequers doesn’t prevail.”

Just today former Brexit Secretary David Davis reiterated that he would vote against the deal when MPs get the chance to accept or reject it.

Elsewhere, Mr Stride also warned pro-EU MPs who are hostile to the Chequers plan that voting against it could mean the UK crashes out of the bloc without a deal.

“I think those on the other end of the spectrum will equally be very concerned that if Chequers doesn’t prevail we could end up in a no-deal situation,” he said.

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, speaking on behalf of the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign, said: "This is one small step for the minister but a giant stride for our campaign to deliver a people's vote.

"After weeks of denying the obvious, a senior minister has let the cat out of the bag. The government know that if their deal is voted down the only way out of this mess is a people's vote. 

"Mel Stride is the first minister to admit a fresh referendum is possible and it is now clear that the public deserve a final say on the Brexit deal."

It comes as Mrs May prepares to hash out the terms of the final Brexit agreement with EU chiefs in Salzburg today.

The Prime Minister will call on European leaders to drop their "unacceptable demands" as she seeks to defuse the ongoing standoff over the Northern Ireland border.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier last night hinted at a compromise as he said the bloc was "ready to improve" its offer on a Northern Ireland backstop.

Brussels had previously Northern Ireland would have to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union if a new arrangement breaks down - but the UK said that would not be acceptable.

Read the most recent article written by Liz Bates - Jeremy Corbyn admits he would rather see a Brexit deal than a second referendum

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