Ministers Threaten to Quit if May Doesn’t Allow Free Vote on ‘Malthouse B’

Backbenchers are pinning their hopes on an amendment to today’s no deal motion which calls for the Government to pursue the Malthouse ‘Plan B’. The amendment has cross-party support from Tories and the DUP as well as cross-partisan support from Leavers and Remainers. Steve Baker went to table it last night alongside Remainers Nicky Morgan, Damien Green and Simon Hart…

The plan is essentially for the UK to pay an agreed sum to the EU in exchange for a standstill transition up to the end of 2021 in the event that no Withdrawal Agreement can be agreed between the two sides. Barnier has tried to pour cold water on this option but whether the EU would really turn it down with no deal looming is a different matter…

However the signals emerging from this morning’s Cabinet meeting is that May is considering whipping against all amendments including the Malthouse B amendment, despite protests from numerous Cabinet ministers including Sajid Javid, Gavin Williamson and the remaining Cabinet Brexiteers. A group of 15 Brexiteer ministers are reportedly now preparing to meet the PM this afternoon to insist that she allows a free vote on it or else they will resign en masse, with one minister telling the Telegraph “We will all go. It would be the end of her”. Even May surely couldn’t cling on after that…

UPDATE: Downing Street has now confirmed that the Government will be allowing a free vote on the Malthouse amendment later. Which way will May go?


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