Fresh blow for Theresa May as Remain-backing Tory MPs plot to vote down Brexit deal
Up to 30 pro-EU Tory MPs are plotting to vote down Theresa May's Brexit deal over fears it could damage the economy, it has emerged.
The group plan to emulate the tactics of their Conservative colleagues on the Brexiteer European Research Group, according to the Guardian.
Former Brexit minister Steve Baker, a leading member of the ERG, warned this week that 40 MPs were prepared to vote against any deal the Prime Minister strikes with Brussels unless it mimics the EU’s trading relationship with Canada.
But the Remain-supporting group, which inlcudes the likes of Anna Soubry and Ken Clarke, plans to push back against such a move, and ultimately hopes to secure a second EU referendum.
One former minister told the paper: “There’s a significant number of Conservatives who are deeply worried about any kind of pivot towards Canada, which they can see coming.
“I do think that would then lose the other wing of the party. It’s an impossible circle that she [Theresa May] can’t square.”
They added: “The ERG do have a game plan, but hitherto people on the other wing of the party haven’t really. But there’s a growing sense we need to.”
A senior Conservative said: “There’s no point campaigning for a meaningful vote and then not actually using it.
“We’ve actually been pretty reasonable over recent months, but we’re at the end of the road now.
“It’s all been building up to this moment. At some stage you’ve got to nail your colours to the mast.”
Mrs May is already reeling from the DUP's threat yesterday to vote against the Budget unless their Brexit demands are met over the future of the Irish border.
In a show of strength last night, the party's MPs - who prop up the Government and give the Prime Minister her Commons majority - abstained on a vote on the Agriculture Bill.
Failing to get a Finance Bill through Parliament would trigger a fresh crisis for Mrs May, and could even lead to the collapse of the Government and trigger a snap election.