Minister warns PM not to ignore calls of soft Brexit

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Britain’s Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke appears on BBC TV’s The Andrew Marr Show. REUTERS.
Britain’s Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke appears on BBC TV’s The Andrew Marr Show. REUTERS.

The Justice Secretary has demanded Theresa May must consider a customs union if MPs vote for it to end the Brexit deadlock.

David Gauke said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that it is not “sustainable” for the government to ignore parliament’s call over a soft Brexit.

He urged Mrs May to look “very closely” at the proposals for a soft Brexit put forward by MPs after her deal has been rejected three times.

Tomorrow MPs could recommend a customs union membership in the second round of ‘indicative votes’ as they try and agree a way forward.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip arrive at church, in Sonning. REUTERS.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip arrive at church, in Sonning. REUTERS.

Although no option won a majority in the vote last week, a proposal for a permanent customs union with the EU had the most support from MPs.

Mr Gauke said: “If Parliament is voting overwhelmingly against leaving the European Union without a deal, but is voting in favour of a softer Brexit, then I don’t think it’s sustainable to say, well, we’ll ignore parliament’s position and therefore leave without a deal.

“I don’t think that is a sustainable position for the government to take.”

Mr Gauke said that the party is in a situation where it is not just “about going for your first choice”.

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He said: “I think we also have to recognise that my party does not have the votes to get its manifesto position through the House of Commons at the moment.

“I think the prime minister’s deal does reflect the manifesto position but we, as you say, have been defeated three times.

“So we do then need to come back and use our judgement as to what is the best way forward.”

There is rising speculation that Mrs May could be forced to call a snap general election if she fails in her fourth attempt to get her Brexit deal through the Commons.

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson has said if there were to be a general election, his party would include a new referendum in its manifesto.

The prime minister has until April 12 to secure a longer extension to the Article 50 process if the UK is to avoid leaving without a deal.

Tory Brexiteer Steve Baker has said in the Sunday Telegraph that the Prime Minister’s deal “cannot be allowed to go through at any cost”.

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