Theresa May insists Brexit is 95% done as rebel MPs plot revolt
Theresa May will tell the House of Commons today that the Brexit deal is 95% done as she battles a growing revolt on her backbenches.
Writing in The Sun this morning, the Prime Minister said that Brexit is ‘the UK’s biggest constitutional challenge for decades’ but that ‘the end is in sight’.
As many as 40 Tory MPs are thought to be ready to rebel against the PM if she fails to toughen her stance in the negotiations with the EU.
Mrs May will tell Parliament that agreements have already been reached on issues including security, transport and services,
She will say that ‘important progress’ has been made since last month’s hostile Salzburg conference, despite failing to persuade EU leaders to sign up to her Brexit plans during a visit to Brussels last week.
In addition she will insist that her Government will never sign up to a deal that involves different rules for Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
“95% of the withdrawal agreement and its protocols are now settled,” she will say.
“As I set out last week, the original backstop proposal from the EU was one we could not accept, as it would mean creating a customs border down the Irish Sea and breaking up the integrity of the UK.
“I do not believe that any UK prime minister could ever accept this. And I certainly will not.”
The speech comes as threats to Mrs May’s leadership, rising from anger over the handling of Brexit, grow louder.
An anonymous politician said yesterday that Mrs May is entering ‘the killing zone’, and another said that ‘assassination is in the air’.
Theresa May’s spokesperson responded to the comments, saying: “I don’t intend to dignify those specific anonymous comments with a response.
“[Theresa May] has always been very clear that we must set a tone in public discourse that is neither dehumanising nor derogatory. Personal vitriol has no place in our politics.”
Prominent Brexiteer Theresa Villiers has criticised the language used in the briefings, calling the threats ‘disturbing’.
Labour’s Yvette Cooper demanded that the MPs who used the language should be outed, saying they were ‘normalising violence’.
“This is vile and dehumanising language towards a woman MP, towards a prime minister who, no matter how much you might disagree with her, is someone who is doing a job in public life,” she said.
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It is thought that 46 MPs have submitted letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister, two short of the number required to trigger a contest.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling warned this morning that those seeking a vote of confidence are risking a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Grayling told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is really a moment for calm, level heads.
“We have got to get through the last bit of negotiation. There will be a vote in Parliament that follows.
“The reality is that, if the deal on offer is something that can’t get through Parliament, we will end up in a no-deal situation, so it is in everyone’s interest, the European Union and us, to make sure that what we agree is something that both sides can accept.”