Theresa May ‘meeting with Labour MPs’ to save crunch Brexit votes
Theresa May is reportedly holding secret talks with Labour MPs in a bid to ensure the Government wins knife-edge Brexit votes.
The Prime Minister is said to have called on pro-Leave opposition members last Monday amid fears over the amendment backed by pro-EU Tories which would hand parliament control of Brexit talks should they vote down the final deal.
The Sun on Sunday says at least three senior Labour MPs are understood to have met her, ahead of the vote last Tuesday, which the Government won after a series of pledges to the rebels.
A Whitehall source said: “The Labour MPs are simply staying true to their principles and staying true to the Labour manifesto they were elected on.
“Seventy per cent of Labour constituencies voted Leave and they want to see the result of the referendum honoured.”
However the revelations come as Mrs May faces a fresh headache on Wednesday when the bill returns to the Commons, having not satisfied the rebels with her promises that sealed the last vote.
Tory MP Stephen Hammond told the Sun the process was “hijacked” by Brexiteers in Government after the PM refused to give in to the group’s demands.
The bill is due to come back to the Commons this week after a day in the Lords, which is “100 per cent certain” to result in the Government’s own amendment being rejected in favour of the rebels’, according to the Independent.
The paper reports that Mrs May has been warned by the Commons backbenchers that failing to compromise further would be a “high-risk gamble and one they will lose”.
And they added that they are “very confident” they have the numbers to vote down the plans, with more MPs ready to break cover in their opposition to the bill as it stands.
One Conservative rebel told The Independent: “We’ve got the numbers. I’m very confident of that. We would have had the numbers last week.
“If they’re gambling on [winning a Commons vote], that’s a very high-risk gamble and one they will lose. Our numbers are increasing, not diminishing.”
They added: “Throughout these negotiations we’ve been calmly trying to find a common-sense and logical way forward that is in the best interests of the country. We’ve been dialling it down while the hard Brexiteers have been ramping up the rhetoric in the media. It’s disgraceful.”