Remainer Rudd: 40 Ministers Will Resign to Vote Against No Deal Brexit

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Home Secretary Amber Rudd speaks on stage on the third day of the Conservative Party Conference 2016 at the ICC Birmingham on October 4, 2016 in Birmingham, England. Ministers and senior Party members will address delegates throughout the day with a number of speeches discussing …
Matt Cardy/Getty

Up to 40 Government ministers could resign if they are blocked from backing proposals to postpone Brexit or block a clean break from the EU.

Remain-supporting Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd, sister of People’s Vote boss Roland Rudd, has told Number 10 that between 25 and 40 ministers could resign from Theresa May’s Government if Theresa May does not allow them a “free vote” in the House of Commons on the “Cooper amendment”, according to The Times.

If voted for, the amendment, backed by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Tories Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles, would make sure that MPs are able to debate a bill that would force the Government to table a motion to extend Article 50 — the legal mechanism for leaving the EU — for a nine months after it officially runs out on March 29th, 2019.

Remainers and soft-Brexiters have been attempting to stop a “No Deal” Brexit after it was clear before Christmas that Mrs May’s unpopular Withdrawal Agreement would not make it through the House of Commons.

Senior Brexiteer Lord Peter Lilley, who was involved in the set-up of the World Trade Organization (WTO), debunked scare stories over a WTO Brexit on Monday, saying that Britain would save money from not paying into EU coffers, that trade would continue to flow between the United Kingdom and the Continent, and that the country would be in a better position to begin writing trade deals with the rest of the world.

Sources speaking to The Times claim that somehow mass ministerial resignations designed to slow the process of leaving the EU would give the Prime Minister a stronger hand in negotiating with Brussels, saying, “For too long parliamentarians have shouted from the peanut gallery about what they won’t support.

“Now is the time for them to get on the stage and show what they would support. If done properly this could help the PM go to Brussels in a stronger position.”

Spokesmen for Rudd and Downing Street declined to comment, according to the newspaper.

Mrs May has previously ruled out extending Article 50, however, telling the House of Commons “the EU are very unlikely simply to agree to extend Article 50 without a plan for how we are going approve a deal” on January 21st.

“So when people say ‘rule out no deal’ the consequences of what they are actually saying are that if we in Parliament can’t approve a deal we should revoke Article 50.

“I believe this would go against the referendum result and I do not believe that is a course of action that we should take, or which this House should support.”

This is not the first time Miss Rudd has been involved in controversy surrounding Britain’s exit from the EU, as planned on March 29th.

In December, the minister said there could be a “plausible argument” for a second referendum if the Withdrawal Agreement were voted down in the Commons, and the month before she asserted that Parliament would “stop a No Deal [exit]”.

Meanwhile Miss Rudd’s brother Roland Rudd, who is chairman of the People’s Vote campaign for a second referendum, spoke to media at the annual gathering of the corporate and political elite at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland — which is not in the EU — saying that it would be “so much easier to rule this [No Deal Brexit] out.”

Mr Rudd, who is also chairman of the PR company Finsbury, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he was “concerned” Mrs May would allow a WTO exit and hoped Remain MPs would stop it and force a second referendum.

“The only way she can resolve this is to ignore the right of the party, ignore the ERG who want us to leave with No Deal… I really think they have to rule it out and put it back to the people.”

When asked by host Justin Webb whether the average Leave voter may think that a member of the Davos elite were planning a “coup” behind their backs, Mr Rudd insisted “nobody voted for No Deal” — despite recent polls showing that to be the most popular option — and that “people thought they were voting to take back control — whatever that means.”

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