Amber Rudd urges MPs to back May's rejected Brexit deal to break deadlock

12 September 2019, 02:00

Amber Rudd quit Boris Johnson's Cabinet on Saturday
Amber Rudd quit Boris Johnson's Cabinet on Saturday. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Amber Rudd says she will continue to back Theresa May’s rejected Withdrawal Agreement in a bid to avoid a no-deal Brexit after quitting Boris Johnson’s Cabinet.

The Hastings and Rye MP will call on colleagues to support the thrice-failed "compromise" agreement or any new deal negotiated with Brussels to break the deadlock.

Ms Rudd resigned as work and pensions secretary over the Prime Minister's handling of Brexit.

In a speech on Thursday, she will say that cancelling Brexit by revoking Article 50 or leaving without a deal would "wholly alienate" the other side of the debate.

Her comments will come as Mr Johnson tries to hammer out a new Withdrawal Agreement with the EU - or face carrying out his legally bound duty of requesting an extension to Brexit.

"It would risk fuelling the anger, resentment and divisions we are already facing," she will say. "The alternative is that we choose a compromise - like the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Prime Minister has until October 19 to get a new deal approved
The Prime Minister has until October 19 to get a new deal approved. Picture: PA

"A 'middle path' risks disappointing everyone. I continue to believe that compromise is the right approach." The former home secretary will also issue a thinly veiled dig at the PM, during the speech at the Reform think tank's annual dinner.

"Most people acknowledge we have to leave, but we can't keep trying to bulldoze one type of Brexit through a Parliament where MPs take a different view of their democratic responsibilities," she will say.

Ms Rudd announced on Saturday that she had quit the Cabinet and the Tory Party, saying she "no longer believed leaving with a deal is the Government's main objective".

She also objected to Mr Johnson's "culling" of 21 Conservative rebels - including two former chancellors.

Mr Johnson has until October 19 to get a new deal approved, or he will have to request an extension to Article 50 after opposition MPs forced legislation through Parliament aimed at preventing no deal.

However, the PM has said he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than ask for a delay. There is some thought that a deal may now get through Parliament with the countdown clock ticking.

MPs, including Tory former cabinet minister Rory Stewart and Labour's Stephen Kinnock, have launched a campaign to get a deal through Parliament.

Labour's Caroline Flint suggested about 50 MPs from her party could swing behind an agreement.