Esther McVey backs Theresa May's 'bad' Brexit deal in boost for PM

Posted On: 
17th March 2019

Esther McVey has said she will vote for the Brexit deal Theresa May brought back from Brussels in a big boost for the Prime Minister.

Ex-Cabinet minister Esther McVey
Credit: 
Sky News

The former Work and Pensions Secretary - who quit the Government last year in protest at the blueprint - said she and other pro-Brexit MPs would “hold our nose” and back the “bad” agreement with Brussels.

She also said she would be willing to stand for the Conservative leadership when Mrs May steps down “if there were enough people who supported me”.

Boost for Theresa May as Esther McVey hints she will now back Brexit deal

Esther McVey: I'd run for Tory leadership if asked

Esther McVey claims John McDonnell 'lynching' comments put her in danger

Ms McVey stormed out of the Cabinet in November over the backstop plan that could see the UK tied to EU rules indefinitely to ensure the Northern Irish border remains open after a no-deal Brexit.

She said at the time: “The British people have always been ahead of politicians on this issue, and it will be no good trying to pretend to them that this deal honours the result of the referendum when it is obvious to everyone it doesn’t.

“We have gone from no deal is better than a bad deal, to any deal is better than no deal.

“I cannot defend this, and I cannot vote for this deal. I could not look my constituents in the eye were I to do that. I therefore have no alternative but to resign from the Government.”

She also slammed fellow Cabinet ministers who she suggested had no integrity after they “crumbled” when presented with the deal.

But appearing on the Sophy Ridge show on Sky News today, Ms McVey said she will be backing the deal when it comes before the Commons again this week because “the rules have all changed”.

She argued that since a no-deal Brexit was taken off the table in a Commons vote this week, the Government would be unable to negotiate a better deal even if it secured a long delay from Brussels.

“I still believe Theresa May’s deal is a bad deal but after the votes in the House last week that isn’t the option facing us any more," she said.

“No deal has been removed, Article 50 has been extended, the date was removed - so the choice is this deal or no Brexit whatsoever.”

Elsewhere, Ms McVey was asked about her ambitions to lead the Conservative party after she previously said she would take a shot at the top job if asked.

She said: “If people felt I would and they wanted to back me I could, and… if they don’t I wouldn’t.”