DUP and Tory rebels have poured cold water over a âdesperateâ compromise bid to win over MPs to Theresa Mayâs Brexit deal, ahead of a Commons showdown whichÂ threatens her leadership and her government. Backbench Tories tabled an amendment to next weekâs meaningful vote that would give MPs some control over the IrishÂ backstop, a controversial insurance…
DUP and Tory rebels have poured cold water over a âdesperateâ compromise bid to win over MPs to Theresa Mayâs Brexit deal, ahead of a Commons showdown whichÂ threatens her leadership and her government.
Backbench Tories tabled an amendment to next weekâs meaningful vote that would give MPs some control over the IrishÂ backstop, a controversial insurance policy which aims to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Under the plans â which are said toÂ be sanctioned by Downing Street â parliament would decide whether toÂ trigger the backstop arrangement or extend the transition period beyond December 2020.
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HoweverÂ Brexiteers also dismissed the plans as âdesperateâ andÂ DUPÂ leader Arlene Foster rejected the proposal outright, saying domestic âtinkeringâ to the withdrawal agreement would not persuade her partyâs 10 MPs back the government â casting further doubt on Ms Mayâs ability to win the vote.
The amendment was tabled by former minister Sir Hugo Swire, backbench MPs Richard Graham and Bob Neill on Thursday night, onlyÂ hours after the prime minister indicated parliament would choose between entering the backstop or prolonging the transition period after exit day.
The backstop plan is loathed by Brexiteers, who believe it keeps the UK too closely tied to Brussels, while Ms May insists it is only an insurance policy as the government plans to secure aÂ trade deal before the backstop is needed.
Mr Graham, who sits on the BrexitÂ Committee, said the backstop âwas and remains the thing that gives colleagues the most concernâ.
He said: âWhat we are trying to achieve is something that gets a lot of support from colleagues and that the government, we hope, will take forward because it will make a real difference to the vote.â
But former Downing Street legislative affairs director Nikki da Costa cast doubt on the provenance of the amendment, tweeting: âI know a government amendment when I see one.â
Ms Foster, whose party props up the government, said: âDomestic legislative tinkering wonât cut it.
âThe legally binding international withdrawal treaty would remain fundamentally flawed as evidenced by the attorney generalâs legal advice.â
Former Brexit minister Steve Baker, the shop steward for backbench Eurosceptics, said: âGiving parliament the choice between the devil and the deep blue sea is desperate and will persuade very few.â
And Nigel Evans, a senior figure in the European Research Group, tweeted: âNote to PM â entering the backstop amendments are totally irrelevant and misses the point.
âWe need certainty on leaving the unnecessary backstop answering concerns of the Attorney General. Ministers touring U.K. flogging this dead deal are engaged in worst miss selling since PPI.â
Ms May has faced calls to postpone Tuesdayâs vote, with senior Conservative MP Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, saying he would welcome the vote being deferred if no solution could be found to differences within the party over the backstop.
However the prime minister appears to be pressing ahead and has dispatchedÂ 30 ministers including Philip Hammond and health secretary Matt Hancock across the UK on Friday in a final push to sell her Brexit deal.
She said: âWe have delivered a deal that honours the vote of the British people.
âIâve been speaking to factory workers in Scotland, farmers in Wales and people right across the country, answering their questions about the deal and our future.
âOverwhelmingly, the message Iâve heard is that people want us to get on with it.
âAnd thatâs why itâs important that ministers are out speaking with communities across the UK today about how the deal works for them.â
The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.