Report: Tory Rebels, Remainers Plot to Resurrect May Deal for Fourth Time

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Tory rebels and Remainers in the opposition are reportedly preparing to resurrect Theresa May’s unpopular Brexit treaty for the fourth time.

There are just 17 days to go until Johnson’s pledged “do or die” Brexit day, and the prime minister is set to propose a final exit deal with the bloc or take the UK out of the EU without a deal.

The media reported an apparent breakthrough on Friday that British and European negotiators were progressing with negotiations. But if talks collapse, the Benn Act would force the prime minister to ask another extension of Brexit — unless Mr Johnson can find a loophole in the law.

The Times reports that if talks break down and there is an extension to Article 50, cross-party Remainers would seek to bring back the May deal rather than allow a snap election.

Rebel Tories — including the 21 who were expelled from the party for voting against the government on Brexit matters — have reportedly spoken to the Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), and members of the Labour Party over reviving the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

The Remainers would seek to take over the House of Commons order paper to force a vote, with the move including making Britons vote again in a second referendum.

The source told The Times: “At that point, I think you could be looking at the Commons voting for the original withdrawal agreement subject to a referendum. The numbers aren’t there yet but if there was no deal on the table you could see that changing.”

They added that 17 of the 21 expelled Tories could be persuaded to back the plans. While not having the support of the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Remainers are also keen on the move to avoid an election, where they fear a wipe-out.

Last month, Remainer MPs discussed pushing through the May deal for a fourth vote in September, but which would have included heavy concessions to the Labour Party, such as close alignment to the Customs Union. Mr Corbyn has said that if he wins an election before Brexit, he would renegotiate an even softer Brexit deal with the bloc and put it against Remain in a second referendum.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May first brought the EU-approved withdrawal treaty to the Commons for a vote on January 15th, the government losing 432 votes to 202. While Labour rejects any bill that would not leave the UK in close alignment with the EU — Brexit in name only — Brexiteers objected to the Irish backstop, which could lock the UK in the Customs Union after the implementation period.

Without making any changes to the treaty, May brought the bill back for two further votes on March 12th and March 29th — the date when the UK was initially scheduled to leave the EU.


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