One Nation Tories have been won over by the Prime Minister, after telling him it would be “unacceptable” to stand on a no-deal Brexit election pledge.
Damian Green, who heads up the centrist caucus of around 80 MPs, met with Boris Johnson in Downing Street today along with colleagues Victoria Prentis, Gillian Keegan and James Brokenshire.
Theresa May’s former deputy said the four MPs passed on the message, agreed at a caucus meeting on Monday, that “we would find it unacceptable if the next Conservative manifesto had no deal as the main purpose of government Brexit policy”.
Green said he had been “reassured” by Johnson that while the message would be to “Get Brexit Done”, in the event that no deal is struck by 31 October, it would remain Conservative policy to seek a deal.
He told City A.M. he had faith in the Prime Minister’s words.
“I think if you sit at the Cabinet table with the Prime Minister you can trust him,” he said. Green added
“He has shown consistently that the government’s position is that it wants a deal, although he accepts no deal is possibility. That is perfectly reasonable.
“We are just asking for the government to stick to the current policy – and that it doesn’t shift to one in which no deal was the main proposition.”
Johnson also reiterated his pledge not to form an alliance with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.
During the half-hour meeting the group also discussed the briefings from earlier this week. Johnson told his backbenchers they should “listen to him rather than what we see – it was the same message he gave to the Cabinet,” said Green.
Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s top adviser, was not at the meeting.
Green declined to discuss what the caucus – of which culture secretary Nicky Morgan is a board member – would do if Johnson went back on his words, but downplayed suggestions the group would hand in their Conservative badges.
“We are a long way from resigning the whip,” he added.
Main image: Getty