Wednesday 22 May 2019 2:40 pm

Theresa May slaps down Michael Gove by insisting new Brexit vote will go ahead as planned

Theresa May has vowed to put her derided Brexit deal to to MPs just hours after a leading Cabinet Minster suggested it could be pulled.

Appearing on BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Wednesday morning, environment secretary Michael Gove was asked if the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would still be put to MPs in early June given the hostile reception to May’s “new deal”.

He refused to guarantee it would still be voted on in the week commencing 3 June, saying there would be “a period of reflection and analysis” after the Bill was published.

However, appearing before MPs on Wednesday afternoon, the Prime Minister doubled down on her planned timetable, and also contradicted Gove’s claim the Bill would be published later today – saying it instead would be made public on Friday.

During a grilling by MPs less than 24 hours after setting out a plan for a vote on a new referendum on whether the UK should leave the EU, May was urged to reconsider forcing what would be a fourth vote on her Brexit deal.

Conservative MP Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Select Committee, said: “I will probably vote for the Bill when it comes back but please can I ask the Prime Minster to reflect very carefully on whether it should be put to Parliament, because the consequences of it not being passed are very serious.

“If she really wants to heal the divisions and to get on with it, I would ask her to reflect very seriously about this Bill not being put to parliament early June and being allowed more compromise, more time being taken.”

May replied that she had already made compromises, and it was now time for MPs to “come together” to deliver Brexit.

Labour’ Caroline Flint, who campaigned for Remain but is not in favour of another referendum, urged her fellow MPs to “take stock” after the Bill is published before deciding whether to vote for or against it.

The Don Valley MP said: “Anybody, on whatever side of the House, if they claim to be against no deal, they should give this proposition, without any commitments right now, they should give this proposition due consideration, think about how they will amend it…stop the shouting and start agreeing on what we can agree to move forward.”


The overwhelming interventions from MPs were critical of May’s latest offering, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn saying: “It is now clear the bold new deal the Prime Minister promised is little more than a repackaged version of her three times-rejected deal.”

May is under tremendous pressure from her own MPs to step down as party leader imminently, with one minister telling City A.M. it was possible she could be ousted by the end of Wednesday. 

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