Minister says he would be 'happy' to revoke Article 50 to stop Brexit 'paralysis'

Posted On: 
25th March 2019

A government minister has said he would vote to revoke Article 50 to save the country from "utter paralysis" over Brexit.

Mark Field said he would vote to cancel Brexit if ministers were handed a free vote.

Mark Field said he would be "happy' to back the move to halt the Brexit process if MPs are handed a free vote on the way forward in the event Theresa May's deal is defeated for a third time.

A cross-party group of MPs will on Monday try to secure Commons time for a series of so-called "indicative votes" on a batch of Brexit options.

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Chancellor Philip Hammond this weekend refused to say whether Tory MPs would be whipped to pick a particular outcome if the bid succeeds - and Mr Field made clear he would support revoking Britain's Brexit request if ministers are handed a free vote.

"My personal view is that I would be happy to revoke Article 50," he told the BBC's Westminster Hour. "But I appreciate that is probably a minority view.

"But if we get to this utter paralysis and I sincerely hope that in the next 48, 72 hours we do not, then if that becomes an option, it's an option I personally would take."

He added: "I accept it probably would not be a majority view in the House of Commons."

The intervention comes despite Theresa May insisting in a letter to MPs this weekend that revoking Article 50 would "betray the result of the referendum" held in 2016.

A public petition demanding Article 50 be revoked has already topped five million signatures - with one pro-EU Tory MP urging those who put their name to the initiative to join the Conservatives and elect a Remain-backing leader.

Antoinette Sandbach said: "If just one per cent of those who signed the Revoke Article 50 Petition joined the Conservative party they would have a vote for the next leader of the party, you would have a decisive say.

"It could be the best £25.00 you have ever spent."

But the move was immediately blasted by Arron Banks, the insurance tycoon who founded the 2016 Leave.EU Brexit campaign, who accused Ms Sandbach of encouraging "entryism" and "trying to bully MPs".