More than 200 MPs from across Brexit divide join forces to warn Theresa May against no-deal
More than 200 MPs from across the political divide have urged Theresa May to rule out plunging over the “cliff-edge” of a no-deal Brexit.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, some 209 figures from both the Leave and Remain camps, as well as the different political parties, warned that a disorderly departure from the EU could cost jobs.
Britain will automatically crash out of the bloc on World Trade Organisation terms on 29 March if another plan is not put in place.
Mrs May has been begging MPs to back the deal she clinched with Brussels, but dozens of her backbenchers and the DUP - whose 10 MPs prop up her minority government - have so insisted they still plan to vote against it when it comes back to the Commons next week..
Tory former Cabinet minister Dame Caroline Spelman and Labour ex-frontbencher Jack Dromey will meet Mrs May on Tuesday after organising the letter.
Dame Caroline told the BBC Westminster Hour last night: “Crashing out of the EU without a deal will cause job losses and bring to an end the renaissance of manufacturing that we've seen in regions like mine in the West Midlands, and both Jack Dromey and I know the human interest and impact of this.”
The former Environment Secretary added: “We are united on one thing - we want to protect jobs and livelihoods by making sure we don't crash out without a deal…
“If Parliament gives expression to not wanting to crash out without a deal, it means effort has got to be renewed to find an agreement which is acceptable to a majority of parliamentarians.
“Taking a step back and at least agreeing we're not going to crash out without a deal means that on 29 March we're not just going to fall over the cliff edge.”
The Spelman/Dromey plan is one of several which has been hatched by MPs in an attempt to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
Former Labour minister Yvette Cooper has tabled a cross-party amendment to the Finance Bill which would effectively shut down the Government if it looked as though a no-deal Brexit is going to happen.
Tory MP Robert Halfon and Labour's have also unveiled plans for a so-called "Common Market 2.0", which would see the UK end up in a Norway-style arrangement which would see it sign up to the rules of the single market without being a full EU member.
However, the Brexiteer European Reearch Group will today publish a document insisting that leaving the EU on WTO terms "offers a safer haven" for the UK than Mrs May's plan.
Meanwhile, ministers are filling Manston airfield in Kent with up to 150 HGVs today to rehearse emergency no-deal plans in case major delays at Dover spark a traffic nightmare on the roads.
Elsewhere, ex-Cabinet minister Boris Johnson said a no-deal departure was the “closest to what people voted for” in the 2016 EU referendum.