On Monday, Downing Street insisted the Prime Minister is about to unveil a “new and improved” Brexit offer to MPs before she announces the timetable for a Tory leadership challenge. Theresa May will meet with her Cabinet on Tuesday to finalise this new plan, which will reportedly include offers on issues such as workers rights and environmental issues to try win over Labour MPs after cross-party talks collapsed. But the idea that this will somehow convince MPs after three crouching defeats on the deal already is not being met with much support across Westminster.
The assumption is still that Mrs May will bring the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – the lengthy document which writes the deal into law – in the first week of June, after the deal has been passed.
But commenting on the plan, one Government aide told the Financial Times: “There’s nothing new in it. It’s all the stuff we know about already.”
And former Brexit Secretary David Davis said the plan is doomed, particularly ahead of the Tory leadership challenge.
He told the Today programme: “If we pass that act, it opens things up so that the successor to the Prime Minister, the next Prime Minister, will have their hands tied.”
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But on Sunday, Ireland’s deputy Prime Minister insisted there would be no room for renegotiation if and when Mrs May is replaced.
Speaking on RTÉ, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said: “The personality might change but the facts don’t”.
Mr Coveney described political events at Westminster as “extraordinary”, as he questioned the logic of politicians who believed a change of leader would deliver changes to the agreement struck by Mrs May.
He said: “The EU has said very clearly that the Withdrawal Agreement has been negotiated over two-and-a-half years, it was agreed with the British government and the British cabinet and it’s not up for renegotiation, even if there is a new British Prime Minister.”
Also on Monday, former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey launched her bid to become Prime Minister with a promise to take the UK out of the EU without a deal if she got the job.
She warned there would be “no more backsliding” and confirmed that “if it means without a deal, we’ll be out”.
Meanwhile, Tory grandee Sir Nicholas Soames announced dozens of Conservative MPs were ready to try and stop a no-deal candidate replacing Theresa May.
The 60-strong group of Tory MPs, called the One Nation group and led by Amber Rudd, are meeting on Monday to “stop any leadership candidate who endorses a ‘Nigel Farage no-deal Brexit’.”
As the debate around deal or no deal ramps up once more, the Government is planning to reopen contingency planning in case of a no deal scenario.
Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay will set out the plan for ramping-up no deal planning once more at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
He has called for the government to “bring forward our preparations to mitigate no deal” if MPs reject Mrs May’s version for a fourth time.
According to a recent YouGov poll, some 66 percent of Tory activists believe the UK should leave the EU without a deal.
Results will be published after 24 hours, you can check express.co.uk for updates