Remain rebels are poised to inflict another embarrassing defeat on May with Government ‘shutdown’ vote to stop Treasury spending on no deal Brexit
- Theresa May is under mounting pressure from MPs to rule out a no deal Brexit
- Business Minister Richard Harrington said he will quit if told to back a no deal
- Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Tory Nicky Morgan hope to win Commons vote later
- They want to re-write the Finance Bill to restrict tax powers after a no deal Brexit
Theresa May faces another embarrassing defeat in the Commons tonight as Tory Remain rebels are set to join forces with Labour over the Budget.
A dangerous cross-party amendment would tie the Treasury’s hands after a no deal Brexit and the Government has vowed to oppose it at around 6.30pm tonight.
But Downing Street moved to play down the impact of the amendment, tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Tory Nicky Morgan, as expectation of defeat rises.
If successful, the Treasury would not be allowed to change tax rules after a no deal Brexit without first winning a vote in favour of Britain crashing out of the EU – something for which there is probably no majority in the Commons.
No 10 said this would be ‘inconvenient’ but not significant – despite rebel claims it could lead to a Trump-style shutdown.
More dangerous for the Prime Minister is a successful alliance between pro-Remain MPs on her benches and the Opposition. Together they could cause chaos for the Government in the coming months on a series of issues.
Theresa May (pictured at Downing Street today) faces another embarrassing defeat in the Commons tonight as Tory Remain rebels are set to join forces with Labour over the Budget
Downing Street has moved to play down the impact of the amendment, tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper (left) and Tory Nicky Morgan (right), as expectation of defeat rises
The backbench amendment to the Finance Bill, which would remove the Treasury’s special spending powers, is backed by a number of pro-Remain Tories, including ex-ministers Sir Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles and health committee chairman Sarah Wollaston.
Downing Street vowed to oppose the amendment, insisting it was not ‘desirable’ – but told rebels even if they win it would ‘inconvenient rather than anything more significant’.
Sources close to Jeremy Corbyn suggested Labour would back the move, raising the prospect of a Government defeat in a vote this afternoon.
Supporters of the move claim it is the first step in an attempt to force a ‘shutdown’ should ministers try to pursue No Deal.
But Treasury sources last night said the impact of the amendment would be largely symbolic – and suggested ministers could even accept it rather than suffer another Commons defeat.
A source said: ‘We are pretty relaxed about it. It would stop us doing some little things to make the tax system work better, but it would be a minor thing compared to the overall consequences of leaving without a deal.’
The Liberal Democrats have tabled a further amendment today which would prevent the Treasury collecting taxes in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but it appears to lack the support needed to succeed.
However, senior Tories remain concerned they could face a series of Parliamentary ambushes in the coming weeks if a no-deal Brexit becomes Government policy.
Business minister Richard Harrington (pictured last night leaving Downing Street) backed the package the PM has thrashed out with Brussels – but said he would ‘definitely’ resign to prevent the UK crashing out without any agreement
Mr Harrington last night told the BBC he would ‘definitely’ resign from the Government to oppose a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Boles has indicated that he and others could resign the Tory whip and vote with Labour to prevent No Deal.
And Mrs May will today meet with representatives from a cross-party group of more than 200 MPs who have called on her to rule out a no-deal Brexit.
Miss Cooper claimed there was a danger that ‘brinkmanship, political paralysis, siren voices’ could lead the UK over a Brexit ‘cliff-edge’. She added: ‘The risks to our economy and security from no deal are far too high and it would be irresponsible to allow it to happen.
‘I do not believe Parliament would support No Deal and ministers should rule it out now.’
But Boris Johnson yesterday claimed that a no-deal Brexit was ‘closest to what people voted for’.
He added: ‘They didn’t vote for anything like Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement. They voted to come out.’
Parliament was the scene of continued protests over the referendum result today (pictured)