As we reported from mirror.co.uk ” Twelve angry ministers could quit Theresa May’s cabinet if she refuses to delay Brexit , it has been claimed.
Former attorney general Dominic Grieve claimed resignations on this scale could bring down the Government within the next few weeks.
But Brexiteer Commons leader Andrea Leadsom insisted Mrs May’s 45-vote defeat last night was “more of a hiccup than the disaster that is being reported.”
And she blamed the defeat on the Labour party “playing politics”, rather than the 71 members of her own party who abstained or voted against their Prime Minister’s plan.
And she suggested Mrs May could survive six ministers quitting her cabinet, saying: “Resignations from government do happen.”
Mr Grieve told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “My understanding is that many of them have made representations directly to the Prime Minister indicating their concern and telling the Prime Minister that if by the end of February there is no deal that has been got through the Commons, we ought to extend.
“If the Prime Minister refuses to do that, I think they face a very difficult choice, because unless we as a Parliament and as the House of Commons start to work together to take the necessary steps to prevent no-deal happening, no-deal could just occur. It could all be so chaotic, it might just happen by accident.
“My view is that if they feel she is not taking those steps, I think they are going to have to resign.”
Asked how many ministers could resign, Mr Grieve said: “I think we are talking about a dozen or even more. Not entirely in the Cabinet, some are junior ministers.”
On the number of Cabinet ministers who could resign, he said: “I’m always hesitant to speak on behalf of colleagues, but I think we are talking of up half a dozen.”
Asked whether this could bring down the Government, Mr Grieve said: “Yes it could, and this isn’t a desirable outcome.”
Steve Baker, deputy chair of the hard Brexiteer European Research Group (ERG, told the BBC: “This whole mess is a storm in a teacup. What we needed to achieve here was to send a signal that we are not going to be associated with taking no-deal off the table.”
He rejected suggestions that the ERG had undermined Theresa May’s efforts to secure concessions from the EU by raising doubts in Brussels over whether she can deliver a Commons majority for a deal.
“We cannot get ourselves into a position where we are associated with rejecting the UK leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement,” he said. “It’s a catastrophic and foolish negotiating error and we cannot be associated with it.”
Mr Baker said ERG members objected to Mrs May “reinterpreting” last month’s vote to replace the Withdrawal Agreement’s backstop with alternative arrangements for keeping the Irish border open.
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