Nine days to save Brexit: Theresa May promises to fight tirelessly

Nine days to save Brexit: Theresa May promises to fight tirelessly during ‘momentous’ build up to crunch vote as allies fume at ‘betrayal’ of Minister’s ‘stab in the back’ resignation

  • May is up for a fight ahead of the Commons vote on withdrawal deal on Dec 11 
  • Universities Minister Sam Gyimah resigned on Friday over a second referendum
  • No 10. is braced for more resignations from remainer group ‘The Breakfast Club’
  • More than 100 Tory MPs could rebel and send Britain towards dangerous No Deal
  • Click the link in the story to email your MP or print the letter to send in the post

Theresa May last night warned the country she had ‘nine days to save Brexit’ – as her allies fumed at the ‘betrayal’ by a Government Minister who quit over her deal with Brussels.

The Prime Minister told The Mail on Sunday she would not be deterred by the resignation of Universities Minister Sam Gyimah over a demand for a second referendum – and promised to fight tirelessly during the ‘momentous’ days ahead to win the crunch Commons vote on December 11.

Her remarks, at the G20 summit of world leaders in Buenos Aires, Argentina, came as:

  • A cross-party group of MPs tried to crank up the pressure on Mrs May to call a second referendum;
  • At least eight Cabinet Ministers lobbied for a Norway-style membership of a customs union if Mrs May loses the vote;
  • Tony Blair revealed how the Government had lobbied him to back Mrs May over her deal; 
  • Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used the summit to issue an appeal to the Prime Minister to prevent a no-deal Brexit;
  • Mrs May signalled her confidence that she would still be Prime Minister at Christmas by starting to send out official cards from No 10;
  • A Tory MP accused Mrs May of ‘snubbing’ the Falklands by refusing to visit the disputed territory after her trip to Argentina.

How YOU can stop No Deal chaos… by sending MPs this letter 

 Dear _______________________________

I am writing to you as one of your constituents to ask you, with the greatest respect, to hear what I have to say before you vote on the Brexit Bill in Parliament on Tuesday, December 11. I firmly believe it is in the national interest that you support the Prime Minister’s deal.

I understand that you, like many who voted either Leave or Remain in the 2016 referendum, have reservations about the deal Theresa May has negotiated. Not even the PM is pretending it is perfect. But it is my strong belief that by ending free movement, restoring sovereignty to Parliament and liberating Britain’s fishermen and farmers from EU control, the Withdrawal Agreement delivers much of what 17.4 million voters demanded at the referendum.

For Westminster to turn its back on those voters now would be a dangerous travesty – risking alienating vast swathes of the country from the democratic process for ever. Remember the Government leaflet delivered to every home before the vote said: ‘This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide.’ No talk there of a second referendum.

The truth is none of the Prime Minister’s critics have come up with a credible alternative to her plan. The most likely alternative – a departure from the European Union with no deal at all – is a leap in the dark which could do permanent damage to our economy and society. Many wise voices have warned of potential chaos. I believe it is simply a risk not worth taking.

With your support, that perilous prospect can be avoided. You must be aware that the British people are tired of the bickering over Brexit. They just want to agree a deal and move on. The time has come to reunite the country around a wise compromise and begin to heal the wounds.

So I urge you – and all your fellow MPs – to put aside your differences and come together at this historic moment and vote in favour of the Brexit deal on December 11.

This is not a vote for Theresa May. It is a vote for Britain’s independent, secure and prosperous future.

Mr Gyimah said he was resigning from the Government because Mrs May’s deal would mean the UK losing its voice in the EU while still having to abide by the bloc’s rules.

He said: ‘In these protracted negotiations, our interests will be repeatedly and permanently hammered by the EU27 for many years to come.

‘Britain will end up worse off, transformed from rule makers into rule takers… To vote for this deal is to set ourselves up for failure. We will be losing, not taking control, of our national destiny.’

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a press conference after the G20 Leader’s Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Saturday, December 1

His move meant that the No 10 team in Buenos Aires spent Friday battling in vain to avert his resignation – while juggling diplomatically fraught encounters with Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

They were also furious that Mr Gyimah’s resignation – the seventh by a Minister over the issue – overshadowed a carefully timed declaration of support by Environment Secretary and leading Brexiteer Michael Gove.

After the Pizza Plotters and the Gang of Five, No 10. is braced for more resignations from The Breakfast Club

Former Universities Minister Sam Gyimah was spotted plotting in a private room of a hotel in Westminster on Tuesday morning, writes Harry Cole. 

He was with a hardcore bloc of Remainer Ministers dubbed The Breakfast Club after the 1980s ‘Brat Pack’ movie that saw five troublesome students forced into early morning detention by an unpopular head teacher.

Mr Gyimah, who resigned on Friday, tucked into eggs and bacon at St Ermin’s Hotel – a favourite haunt of wartime spies – along with Cabinet Ministers Greg Clark and David Gauke, and former Transport Minister Jo Johnson, who resigned the week before. 

They were also joined by Business Minister Margot James, who was yesterday forced to clarify that she would not be the next to quit.

‘I fully intend to support the deal the PM is putting to Parliament on December 11,’ she said.

A hardcore bloc of Remainer Ministers have been dubbed ‘The Breakfast Club’ after the 1980s cult movie (pictured) 

A senior source said: ‘It’s a stab in the back from someone [Mr Gyimah] who hopes to be leader. But the only person tipping Sam for leader is Sam.’

But Mrs May told this newspaper she ‘profoundly disagreed’ with Mr Gyimah for wanting a second referendum and that voting down her deal in an attempt to achieve it would end the Brexit project altogether.

Mrs May said: ‘If you look around the Commons you will see people who are trying to frustrate Brexit. We are nine days from the meaningful vote. 

At the end of those nine days we want to be able to look to a bright and certain future.

‘This is a momentous period in our country’s history, and over the next nine days I want to focus on the significance of this vote, because it determines our future’.

It is the second time that Mrs May has been ‘betrayed’ by a Minister over a second referendum while she carried out foreign duties. Last month, Transport Minister Jo Johnson quit while she attended Remembrance services in Europe.

Mrs May insists she can still carry the vote through the Commons on December 11, despite calculations that more than 100 Tory MPs could rebel. 

Asked by this newspaper if she expected to be celebrating Christmas as Prime Minister, she said: ‘This has never been about me… actually over the next nine days I am not going to be giving Christmas much thought at all. I am going to be focusing on this deal.’

But it is understood that Mrs May has already started sending the official Prime Ministerial Christmas cards. And she cited her cricketing hero Geoffrey Boycott to say that over the next nine days she would make sure she was ‘steadily scoring those runs, getting that century’.

Mrs May, making the first visit to Buenos Aires by a British Prime Minister, added that she had used the G20 summit ‘have a chat with Donald Trump… we both acknowledged we will be able to do a trade deal’.

Mr Gove warned yesterday that leaving the EU would be under ‘great threat’ if the deal was rejected by MPs. But Mrs May is coming under intense cross-party pressure to agree to a second referendum if she loses the Commons vote, a move that would infuriate Tory pro-Brexit MPs. 

A hardcore bloc of Remainer Ministers dubbed The Breakfast Club after the 1980s ‘Brat Pack’ movie that saw five students forced take on an unpopular head teacher. They are Jo Johnson (top), Sam Gyimah (middle right), Margot James (bottom right), David Gauke (centre) and Greg Clark (middle left)

And she is also coming under intense pressure from Cabinet Ministers, led by Chancellor Philip Hammond, and MPs to avert the disruption of a ‘no deal’ by agreeing to remain in a customs union with the EU – described as ‘a Norway-style Plan B’ option – until the crisis can be resolved. 

The number of Cabinet Ministers backing the plan is believed to have reached eight.

Last night, a coalition of 16 Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs provocatively released a joint statement calling for a second referendum. The group, including Labour’s Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger along with former Tory Ministers Phillip Lee and Guto Bebb, described December 11 as ‘one of the biggest votes since the Second World War’ and said it ‘was clear it will not command a majority’.

Sam Gyimah, former Minister of State for Universities and Science resigned on Friday over the issue of a second referendum

The group, which was last night hoping to add Mr Gyimah’s name to the call, said it was ‘time the country’s interests are put before any party political advantage… it is vital, given the speed with which events will unfold, that we do not prevaricate during these historic events in ensuring the people are given their rightful seat at the table’.

But Mrs May – if she has not been toppled as leader – will be subject to equal lobbying from Brexiteers to pursue a ‘managed no-deal’.

Despite her public refusal to countenance a second referendum – the so-called People’s Vote – Brexiteers both in and out of the Cabinet fear a ‘stitch up’ if Mrs May loses the vote and is unable to resist the clamour from Parliament for a fresh referendum.


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One said: ‘The combination of pro-Remain Tories, most of the Labour Party and the instinctively anti-Brexit Civil Service would want to join forces to create a bogus choice between May’s duff deal and remaining in the EU. We need to head that off now.’

Even former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the options should be ‘the Boris Johnson version of Brexit’ – a clean break – or remaining in the EU.

Leave campaigners are confident they can win a second vote if a clean Brexit is one of the options.

Former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the options should be ‘the Boris Johnson version of Brexit’ – a clean break – or remaining in the EU

Activists associated with both Vote Leave, the victorious 2016 campaign group, and Leave Means Leave, the pressure group lobbying for a clean Brexit, have already started preparing for a second referendum. Well-placed sources say their research indicates the vote on both sides has hardened.

One campaign slogan that has been bandied around is: ‘Tell Them Again’ – the ‘them’ being the political elite.

The MoS understands that Mr Blair held a secret meeting with a Government Minister who tried to persuade him to back Mrs May’s deal in exchange for a promise the UK would then pivot to a ‘soft’ Brexit.

Mr Blair told a private dinner last week that he had been approached by a Minister and asked if he would agree to drop his support for a second referendum.

The Minister told Mr Blair that if he backed Mrs May’s deal instead – to keep her in Downing Street – then ‘once we have got through Brexit we can switch to the Norway option instead’.

Under the Norway option, the UK would stay in the single market but could not control freedom of movement.

Mr Blair added that he had been in touch with leaders of EU countries and they all thought Mrs May’s deal was ‘absolute folly’.

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands during a bilateral meeting at the Group 20 summit, in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 1, 2018. Mr Abe used the summit to issue an appeal to the Prime Minister to prevent a no-deal Brexit

Mr Abe’s plea, delivered as he met Mrs May at the G20 summit, follows warnings from Japanese companies in the UK over the extra costs and bureaucracy they will face if there is no deal.

Mr Abe told the Prime Minister: ‘I would like to take this opportunity to express my tribute to your leadership in realising the withdrawal agreement as well as the EU’s agreement on the political declaration. Also I would like to once again ask for your support to avoid no deal, as well as to ensure transparency, predictability as well as legal stability in the Brexit process.’

Mrs May has been accused of snubbing the Falkland Islands by refusing to visit the British territory after her trip to Argentina, accepting Foreign Office advice that it would be ‘provocative’. But Tory MP Bob Stewart said: ‘To hell with the Foreign Office.’

Last night, Mrs May batted away claims that this could be her last appearance on the international stage. She told reporters at the summit that she still had ‘a lot more to do, not least deliver on Brexit and be the Prime Minister that took Britain out of the EU’.

Who are the MPs expected to oppose May?

See if YOUR local MP is on the below list of those from every party who are likely to vote down May’s Brexit… and email them this letter

Conservative 

EXPECTED TO OPPOSE

Lucy Allan – Telford

[email protected]

Heidi Allen – South Cambridgeshire

[email protected]

Sir David Amess – Southend West

[email protected]

Steve Baker – Wycombe

[email protected]

Crispin Blunt – Reigate

[email protected]

Peter Bone – Wellingborough

[email protected]

Ben Bradley – Mansfield

[email protected]

Suella Braverman – Fareham

[email protected]

Andrew Bridgen – North West Leicestershire

[email protected]

Conor Burns – Bournemouth West

[email protected]

Sir William Cash – Stone

[email protected]

Maria Caulfield – Lewes

[email protected]

Rehman Chishti – Gillingham and Rainham

[email protected]

Sir Christopher Chope – Christchurch

[email protected]

Simon Clarke – Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland

[email protected]

Damian Collins – Folkestone and Hythe

[email protected]

Tracey Crouch – Chatham and Aylesford

[email protected]

Philip Davies – Shipley

[email protected]

David Davis – Haltemprice and Howden

[email protected]

Nadine Dorries – Mid-Bedfordshire

[email protected]

Steve Double – St Austell and Newquay

[email protected]

Richard Drax – South Dorset

[email protected]

James Duddridge – Rochford and Southend East

[email protected]

Iain Duncan Smith – Chingford and Woodford Green

[email protected]

Nigel Evans – Ribble Valley

[email protected]

Michael Fabricant – Lichfield

michael.fabricant.mp.co.uk/contact/

Mark Francois – Rayleigh and Wickford

[email protected]

Marcus Fysh – Yeovil

[email protected]

Zac Goldsmith – Richmond Park

[email protected]

James Gray – North Wiltshire

[email protected]

Chris Green – Bolton West

[email protected]

Dominic Grieve – Beaconsfield

[email protected]

Sam Gyimah – East Surrey

[email protected]

Philip Hollobone – Kettering

[email protected]

Adam Holloway – Gravesham

[email protected]

Ranil Jayawardena – North East Hampshire

[email protected]

Sir Bernard Jenkin – Harwich and North Essex

[email protected]

Andrea Jenkyns – Morley and Outwood

[email protected]

Boris Johnson – Uxbridge and Ruislip

[email protected]

Jo Johnson – Orpington

[email protected]

David Jones – Clwyd West

c/o [email protected]

Andrew Lewer – Northampton South

[email protected]

Julian Lewis – New Forest East

No email, write c/o: House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA

Julia Lopez – Hornchurch and Upminster

[email protected]

Tim Loughton – East Worthing and Shoreham

[email protected]

Craig Mackinlay – South Thanet

[email protected]

Esther McVey – Tatton

[email protected]

Anne-Marie Morris – Newton Abbot

[email protected]

Sheryll Murray – South East Cornwall

[email protected]

Priti Patel – Witham

[email protected]

Owen Paterson – North Shropshire

[email protected]

Mark Pritchard – The Wrekin

[email protected]

Dominic Raab – Esher and Walton

[email protected]

John Redwood – Wokingham

[email protected]

Jacob Rees-Mogg – North East Somerset

[email protected]

Laurence Robertson – Tewkesbury

[email protected]

Andrew Rosindell – Romford

[email protected]

Lee Rowley – North-East Derbyshire

[email protected]

Henry Smith – Crawley

[email protected]

Sir Desmond Swayne – New Forest West

[email protected]

Ross Thomson – Aberdeen South

[email protected]

Michael Tomlinson – Mid Dorset and North Poole

[email protected]

Anne-Marie Trevelyan – Berwick-upon-Tweed

[email protected]

Shailesh Vara – North West Cambridgeshire

[email protected]

Martin Vickers – Cleethorpes

[email protected]

Theresa Villiers – Chipping Barnet

[email protected]

WILL PROBABLY OPPOSE

John Baron – Basildon and Billericay

[email protected]

Guto Bebb – Aberconwy

[email protected]

Sir David Evennett – Bexleyheath and Crayford

[email protected]

Sir Michael Fallon – Sevenoaks

[email protected]

Justine Greening – Putney

[email protected]

Rob Halfon – Harlow

[email protected]

Trudy Harrison – Copeland

[email protected]

Sir John Hayes – South Holland and The Deepings

[email protected]

Gordon Henderson – Sittingbourne and Sheppey

[email protected]

Pauline Latham – Mid-Derbyshire

[email protected]

Sir Edward Leigh – Gainsborough

[email protected]

Anne Main – St Albans

[email protected]

Scott Mann – North Cornwall

[email protected]

Nigel Mills – Amber Valley

[email protected]

Damien Moore – Southport

[email protected]

Matthew Offord – Hendon

[email protected]

Neil Parish – Tiverton and Honiton

[email protected]

Sir Mike Penning – Hemel Hempstead

[email protected]

Douglas Ross – Moray

[email protected]

Royston Smith – Southampton Itchen

[email protected]

Anna Soubry – Broxtowe

[email protected]

Bob Stewart – Beckenham

[email protected]

Sir Robert Syms – Poole

[email protected]

Derek Thomas – St Ives

[email protected]

John Whittingdale – Maldon

[email protected]

Sarah Wollaston – Totnes

[email protected]

MIGHT REBEL

Robert Courts – Witney

[email protected]

Alister Jack – Dumfries and Galloway

[email protected]

John Lamont – Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

[email protected]

Phillip Lee – Bracknell

[email protected]

Stephen Metcalfe – South Basildon and East Thurrock

[email protected]

Grant Shapps – Welwyn Hatfield

[email protected]

Sir Hugo Swire – East Devon

[email protected]  

Labour

CONSTITUENCIES WITH STRONGEST ‘LEAVE’ VOTE (Excludes Shadow Cabinet)

Ian Austin – Dudley North

[email protected]

Adrian Bailey – West Bromwich West

[email protected]

Sir Kevin Barron – Rother Valley

[email protected]

Margaret Beckett – Derby South

[email protected]

Clive Betts – Sheffield South East

[email protected]

Sarah Champion – Rotherham

[email protected]

Julie Cooper – Burnley

[email protected]

Yvette Cooper – Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford

[email protected]

Mary Creagh – Wakefield

[email protected]

Judith Cummins – Bradford South

[email protected]

Alex Cunningham – Stockton North

[email protected]

Jon Cruddas – Dagenham and Rainham

[email protected]

Nic Dakin – Scunthorpe

[email protected]

Gloria de Piero – Ashfield

[email protected]

Paul Farrelly – Newcastle-under-Lyme

[email protected]

Caroline Flint – Don Valley

[email protected]

Yvonne Fovargue – Makerfield

[email protected]

Gill Furniss – Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough

[email protected]

Emma Hardy – Hull West and Hessle

[email protected]

Carolyn Harris – Swansea East

[email protected]

Stephen Hepburn – Jarrow

[email protected]

Mike Hill – Hartlepool

[email protected]

Sharon Hodgson – Washington and Sunderland West

[email protected]

Dan Jarvis – Barnsley Central

[email protected]

Graham Jones – Hyndburn

[email protected]

Emma Lewell-Buck – South Shields

[email protected]

John Mann – Bassetlaw

[email protected]

Pat McFadden – Wolverhampton South East

[email protected]

Liz McInnes – Heywood and Middleton

[email protected]

Jim McMahon – Oldham West and Royton

[email protected]

Gordon Marsden – Blackpool South

[email protected]

Ed Miliband – Doncaster North

[email protected]

Grahame Morris – Easington

[email protected]

Lisa Nandy – Wigan

[email protected]

Alex Norris – Nottingham North

[email protected]

Fiona Onasanya – Peterborough

[email protected]

Melanie Onn – Great Grimsby

[email protected]

Stephanie Peacock – Barnsley East

[email protected]

Bridget Phillipson – Houghton and Sunderland South

[email protected]

Jo Platt – Leigh

[email protected]

Yasmin Qureshi – Bolton South East

[email protected]

Emma Reynolds – Wolverhampton North East

[email protected]

Dennis Skinner – Bolsover

[email protected]

Ruth Smeeth – Stoke-on-Trent North

[email protected]

Angela Smith – Penistone and Stocksbridge

[email protected]

Nick Smith – Blaenau Gwent

[email protected]

Gareth Snell – Stoke-on-Trent Central

[email protected]

John Spellar – Warley

[email protected]

Anna Turley – Redcar

[email protected]

Karl Turner – Hull East

[email protected] 

Liberal Democrats  

IN ‘LEAVE’ SEATS

Tom Brake – Carshalton and Wallington

[email protected]

Norman Lamb – North Norfolk

[email protected]

Stephen Lloyd – Eastbourne

[email protected]

DUP  

IN ‘LEAVE’ SEATS

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson – Lagan Valley

[email protected]

Paul Girvan – South Antrim

[email protected]

Ian Paisley Jr – North Antrim

[email protected]

Gavin Robinson – Belfast East

[email protected]

Jim Shannon – Strangford

[email protected]

David Simpson – Upper Bann

[email protected]

Sammy Wilson – East Antrim

c/o [email protected]

Other Parties

Independents in ‘leave’ seats

Charlie Elphicke – Dover

[email protected]

Frank Field – Birkenhead

[email protected]

Andrew Griffiths – Burton

[email protected]

Kelvin Hopkins – Luton North

[email protected]

Ivan Lewis – Bury South

[email protected]

John Woodcock – Barrow and Furness

[email protected]

Plaid Cymru in ‘leave’ seat

Jonathan Edwards – Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

[email protected]

 

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