Back May or face national election, Brexit rebels told


Ireland's premier Leo Varadkar has said his government will have to "change gear" in how it deals with Brexit.

"The Prime Minister has been clear that we will leave the European Union, but in a way that does not endanger Shropshire jobs, or the county and borough's prosperity", he said.

She said: "Cabinet agreed we need to step up our no deal negotiations".

"I started the week intending to support the prime minister".

"But behind that, we do have to deal with scenarios like a no-deal Brexit".

The division over a hard or soft Brexit is clearly taking its toll, as numerous resignations have come out of protest for parts of May's plan to detangle Britain from the EU.

"She has been defeated by the right-wing ERG [European Research Group] of her own party, and by the pro-European wing of her party in separate votes, and only survived yesterday's crucial vote on future customs arrangements with the help of Labour MPs".

A senior minister told the Press Association it was "extraordinary that we lost the vote that didn't matter and won the one that did".

And he said Britain should be "great independent actors" on the world stage, not "rule takers".

"That is the prize that is still attainable".

Leo Varadkar has threatened to ban British planes from the skies above Ireland
Leo Varadkar has threatened to ban British planes from the skies above Ireland

On Monday, he was among those supporting amendments to a customs bill created to toughen the Chequers deal and reduce May's scope to make concessions when she negotiates with the European Union.

But her plan so far has pleased very few, deepening those divisions in her Conservative Party that have so far hampered progress in talks with the European Union, and triggering a bitter war of words between its Brexit-supporting and pro-EU factions.

A spokesman said: "As set out in the White Paper, the United Kingdom is seeking participation in the European Medicines Agency".

Johnson warned against making the "the fatal mistake of underestimating the intelligence of the public" by saying one thing to the European Union and pretending to do another thing to the public.

Mrs May has come under growing pressure after allegedly "caving in" to Brexiteers led by Jacob Rees-Mogg who forced the government to back four amendments on Monday.

"A very well delivered speech from Boris but it is hopeless to expect Mrs May to deliver on any of it", said Mr Farage.

That way, again according to Parliamentary convention, the former foreign secretary will be spared heckling and hostile interventions, which he would no doubt attract from MPs on all sides of the House if he spoke during a debate.

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas, a leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign for a second referendum, said Brexit had "sunk further into the Westminster quagmire".

A ministerial resignation statement on a Wednesday would normally follow Prime Minister's Questions, but friends of the former foreign secretary are predicting the government will stage at least one ministerial statement after PMQs so Mr Johnson does not immediately follow Theresa May. All it shows is that while the auto is careering towards the Brexit cliff-edge, senior Conservatives are still fighting over what song to play on the stereo.

Defeat would likely have made a confidence vote in the government inevitable.