A HARDCORE group of Remainers in the Cabinet will “do everything they can to stop Brexit”, a senior minister has warned.
It is part of a Remainer plot to betray Brexit and either trap Britain under EU rule in a customs union or force a second referendum. Tory Brexiteers have said they will vote or abstain to bring down the Government if there is a “betrayal” of the 2016 referendum result. However, a series of wrecking measures have been put in place by Remainers in cahoots with the Labour Party to force the Government to hold another vote on Britain’s membership of the EU.
In the Lords, the Labour group along with Remainer allies are deliberately delaying statutory instruments. These are some of the legal rules which need to go through to allow Britain to leave with no deal on March 29, and the Remainers’ efforts are designed to ensure the country will not be ready.
Meanwhile, Tory Remainer Dominic Grieve has reportedly made plans which would allow 300 MPs – a minority – to seize control of the Brexit process and force a referendum through another amendment.
Sources have said that “a majority in the Cabinet” back a customs union solution to end the deadlock which would stop Britain from having its own free trade deals.
Remainers hope that a rushed through referendum could be held as early as May 23 when the European Parliament elections are due to be held.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission has put in contingency plans for Britain to take part in European Parliament elections because of the increasing likelihood that Parliament will seek to suspend Article 50 and delay Brexit.
A senior cabinet minister said that work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd, justice secretary David Gauke and business secretary Greg Clark are the hardcore group of Remainers who back a second referendum.
Sources have said that “a majority in the Cabinet” back a customs union solution to end the deadlock
The minister said: “They would do anything to stop Brexit.”
However, with shadow business secretary Keir Starmer strongly hinting that Labour will back a second referendum as mandated by a motion at the party conference, the minister added: “The fear is that Labour will pivot to supporting a second referendum.”
The minister also accused Brexiteers of “overplaying their hand” and warned that the likelihood is that Parliament and the Government will “go for something softer.”
The minister went on: “I think if there is a majority view in the cabinet it is that we commit to a customs union of some sort and I suspect that is where we will end up.
“[International trade secretary] Liam [Fox] will be very unhappy because of what that means for his department but we are where we are.
“The Cabinet in some ways reflects the party over not being clear which way to go except we don’t have any [Brexiteer] hardliners any more. Penny [Mordaunt] and Andrea [Leadsom] are much more pragmatic Brexiteers.
“The point is that we have legislation which will have to go through and that can be amended to stop no deal and to have a second referendum.”
Tory Remainer Dominic Grieve
Tory members of the powerful Brexiteer European Research Group (ERG) last night said that if the Government agreed to either a customs union solution or second referendum they would not support Mrs May’s government in a no confidence motion brought by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
One said: “Our representatives were told by the Prime Minister that both these things were off the table so if they are not she was lying.
“I think you would find a large number of us sitting on our hands and abstaining in a confidence vote.”
Another said: “I could not tolerate that sort of betrayal and I would have to vote against the government in those circumstances.”
But last night Downing Street sort to reassure people that Mrs May will not accept a customs union or second referendum.
A Downing Street source described suggestions that Ms Rudd, Mr Clark and Mr Gauke want to stop Brexit as “deeply unfair” adding that they are “working to find an acceptable deal.”
The source pointed out that Mrs May believes that respecting the result means taking back control of Britain’s laws, money and borders but also being able to have free trade deals with the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, the source attacked Labour peers and Tory Remainers for trying to derail Brexit.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
“It is utterly irresponsible to play fast and loose with legislation in these circumstances and block the clear will of the British people.”
The campaign to slow down statutory instruments in parliament – legal measures to transfer EU law into British law – was begun by Labour Remainer peers Lord Foulkes and Lord Adonis gaining support from crossbencher Lord Winston, Labour peers Baroness Kingsmill and Baroness Golding, and former Tory cabinet minister Lord Deben.
On Wednesday the wrecking campaign was backed by the entire Labour group in the Lords and with hundreds of SIs needing to go through parliament it could mean that the UK leaves with no deal on 29 March but without the legal framework needed to protect pensions, the environment, energy supplies and other key areas.
Defending the action, Lord Foulkes admitted that the intent was to “make a no deal impossible.”
He added: “These SIs are also a waste of time and money so we are challenging them.”
Tory peer and former Brexit minister Baroness Anelay of St Johns described the guerilla tactics as “disgraceful”.
She said: “It is a privilege for us peers to be here but we are unelected and Lord Foulkes and Adonis are trying to subvert the will of the British people.
“They are also potentially putting Britain in a dangerous place if we do leave without a deal.”
Former Prime Minister John Major, a leading Remainer campaigner
Meanwhile, in a sign that Labour is about to back a second referendum, Sir Keir Starmer told the Fabian Society new year conference this morning that Labour is in ‘phase three’ of their conference commitment, which he went on to spell out as supporting “all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote”.
In a move to back Tory Remainers in the Commons and Lords former Prime Minister John Major, a leading Remainer campaigner, tried to put pressure on Mrs May to allow a free vote on Brexit in Parliament.
In a further move leading Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg denied that his comments saying that Mrs May’s deal is better than no Brexit were an indication that the ERG , which he leads, may support the deal after rebelling last week.
He told the Sunday Express: “The Withdrawal Agreement is not something I could support and would strongly favour no deal if that were the alternative.”