Tories tell Theresa May to cancel tomorrow's meaningful vote

MPs fear a three-figure defeat as talks with European Union are deadlocked


Senior Tories are urging Theresa May to pull tomorrow’s meaningful vote on her Brexit deal if she fails to secure significant concessions from Brussels.

With talks between the UK and the EU deadlocked, leading Conservative MPs have warned that the prime minister could face another three-figure defeat if she presses ahead with her plan.

The BBC’s political correspondent Chris Mason agrees, saying: “the prospect of another big loss looms”.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Tory MPs have advised May to replace the planned vote with a motion setting out the kind of Brexit deal that could keep the party together. They feel such a move would send a clear message to the European Union about the kind of concessions that might secure a parliamentary majority.

Senior party source told The Times: “It has been made clear to Downing Street that it would be eminently sensible to avoid defeat by proposing a motion that the party can support. Whether they listen or not is another matter.”

Former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell agreed with the proposal, saying: “Anything that avoids what looks like a massive defeat on Tuesday is worth considering.”

The Guardian paints a bleak picture for Theresa May, saying that “many of her Conservative colleagues are behaving as though it is only a matter of time before the removal men turn up at Downing Street”.

They quote one Conservative MP as saying: “Give it a few months and the only negotiations Theresa will be doing are how much she can get for an appearance on Celebrity Bake Off.”

Talks between the UK and Brussels will resume this morning with the aim of securing changes to the deal before the vote due tomorrow.

If Tuesday’s vote goes ahead and May's deal passes, the UK will leave the EU under the terms of the deal on 29 March. However, if as expected it is rejected, MPs will vote on whether the UK should leave without a deal.

If that vote sees them reject a no-deal Brexit they are then due to vote on whether to request a delay to Brexit from the EU.

However, the EU is preparing to impose “punitive conditions” on Britain as a price for agreeing a Brexit delay, the Daily Telegraph says.

Member states are reportedly “hardening” their attitudes towards a delay and will demand “legal and financial conditions” including a multi-billion pound increase to the £39bn divorce payment.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.