Cabinet ministers warn against no-deal Brexit

Dominic Grieve

Dominic Grieve

May, the party's deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, said the publication of the Irish government's "no deal' preparations before Christmas showed that the Irish government were not planning for a hard border".

Damian Green, the former Cabinet Office Minister, confidently predicted: "Clearly something is going to happen".

Another reception will be held on Wednesday as part of the charm offensive, while more than 200 MPs who signed a letter to the Prime Minister urging her to rule out a no-deal Brexit have been invited to meet Mrs May at Downing Street on Tuesday.

Mr Corbyn hailed the development as an "important step" to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Theresa May has said she is still working to secure new assurances from the European Union on her Brexit deal in a bid to win over MPs, as opposition parties rallied around attempts to stop a no-deal Brexit. Speaking before today's vote on the Amendment, Bloomberg's Emma Ross-Thomas revealed that Theresa May could accept it. Ms Ross-Thomas explained: "I think what we've seen over the last months and weeks is Parliament increasingly asserting itself to try to prevent a no deal Brexit".

It was supported by 303 votes to 296, a majority of 7.

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Opening the debate, the shadow Treasury minister Jonathan Reynolds said it had the support of the opposition because it was "a chance for parliament to make a clear statement rejecting a no-deal outcome and that is a statement that can not come soon enough".

Labour former minister Yvette Cooper tabled an amendment to the Budget-enacting Finance (No. 3) Bill which attracted support from Tory rebels. The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 whether the deal is passed by MPs or not.

But the vote did carry symbolic weight: Parliamentarians are pushing back on a no-deal scenario.

The decision, called the Cooper amendment, means that if there is either a Brexit deal, a decision to extend article 50, or a vote in the Commons specifically approving a no-deal Brexit, it would require approval from the parliament.

"The clause merely concerned minor, technical changes to tax law".

"It would be a gross dereliction of responsibility of members of this house to inflict a no-deal situation on our constituents", she said.

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Brexiteers also dismissed the significance of the result, with Iain Duncan Smith telling Sky News the vote "doesn't change anything" and was "really a token".

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has confirmed that the EU is "happy" to give assurances that they "don't want to trap the United Kingdom into anything" in response to claims the Irish border backstop could be used to keep the United Kingdom in the customs union. In the event, 20 Tories voted for the measure.

Brexit minister Steve Baker suggested it was "to deliberately advertise weakness, presumably, as a whipping tactic", as Mrs May focuses on persuading critics to back her Brexit deal next week.

The Work and Pensions Secretary, who backed Remain in the 2016 referendum, told fellow ministers: "History will take a dim view of a Cabinet that presses ahead with no deal".

According to Mr Dodd, "The Withdrawal Agreement, as now proposed, flies in the face of the government's commitments on Northern Ireland as we leave the European Union".

And Business Secretary Greg Clark said such an outcome "could not be contemplated".

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