Theresa May defies warnings her Brexit plans will be 'voted down by 100 MPs', saying she'll publish White Paper on Thursday

Savaged – Theresa May is working to unite her party following a savaging by Boris Johnson in his resignation letter (Picture: PA)

Theresa May has defied warnings that ‘up to 100 MPs’ will vote down her Brexit plan.

The PM told her new Cabinet that she will publish her controversial Brexit white paper on Thursday.

It comes after the dramatic resignations of Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over what they said was her ‘dangerous strategy’ that would weaken the UK’s negotiating position.

But the tempestuous time has not appeared to weaken Mrs May’s resolve, as she told her newly-reshuffled Cabinet on Tuesday morning that her Brexit white paper would be published on Thursday.

The declaration comes in the face of warnings from hard-line Eurosceptics in her own party, with Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Tory MPs, reportedly warning that up to 100 MPs would vote down her proposals.


Mr Johnson’s scathing resignation letter said the Brexit dream was “dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt” and that Mrs May’s plan would reduce the UK to the “status of a colony”.

Brexit minister Steve Baker and unpaid parliamentary aides Conor Burns and Chris Green also resigned.

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Mrs May chaired a meeting of her new Cabinet, which includes Jeremy Hunt as Foreign Secretary, on Tuesday morning ahead of a summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Balkan leaders in the evening.

Mr Hunt said it was a moment to show that Britain remained a “strong, confident voice in the world” and vowed to be “four square” behind the PM in driving through her Brexit plan.

 

Scathing – Mr Johnson’s resignation letter said the Brexit dream was ‘dying’ (Picture: Twitter/Daily Telegraph)

It remains unclear whether critics have enough numbers to force a leadership challenge but Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Tory MPs, was reported to have said that Mr Johnson would make a “brilliant” prime minister.

Mr Rees-Mogg, who made it clear he had not submitted a letter of no confidence and expected Mrs May to remain at least until the official date of Brexit in March 2019, said: “If the Government plans to get the Chequers deal through on the back of Labour Party votes that would be the most divisive thing you could do.”

Dying – Boris Johnson said the Brexit dream was dying in his resignation letter to Theresa May (Picture: BorisJohnson/Twitter via AP)

Mrs May addressed the 1922 Committee of backbenchers in Westminster on Monday evening, raising the prospect of a Jeremy Corbyn-led government in a bid to encourage unity in her own party.

Solicitor General Robert Buckland said: “She talked about Corbyn, she talked about the alternative which is delivering the country to the sort of government that I don’t think people have voted for and certainly any Conservative voter would be repelled by.”

Mrs May held a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning, including her new Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (Picture: Reuters)

Mr Johnson’s choice to arrange a photocall of him signing his resignation letter was met with derision by some MPs.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, a leading member of the anti Brexit group Best for Britain, said: “This staged resignation photograph is pathetic. This man is a poundshop Churchill impressionist. Its just very sad.

“But Boris is doing what he does best: when the going gets tough he runs away like a coward.”