UK Conservatives in Quagmire as Two More Vice Chairs Defect From Party

Boris Johnson has criticised British PM Theresa May's plan for retaining strong economic ties to the EU even after Brexit. —AFP  File

When asked if he knew how many letters had been sent to Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, Rees-Mogg said: "No I don't, I have no idea, Sir Graham Brady has made it very clear that he will not give anybody any indication of how many letters he has received".

They were announced less than an hour before May was due to face the press alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at an global summit in London.

There appears to be no immediate challenge to Ms May's leadership, as the Brexit hardliners simply do not have the numbers, and her Conservative Party seems set to weather this storm, despite deep divisions on the issue.

"Any deal that the Prime Minister gets has to be to voted through Parliament and voted into law and if it is this bad deal from Chequers that keeps us ineffectively in, the European Court of Justice would remain effectively the supreme court in goods and agri-goods and that won't get through parliament and people like me will vote it down".

Earlier in the day, Mrs May was bolstered by the support of senior Brexiteers in her Cabinet.

"There is a whole range of scenarios in which they get no Brexit, or an indefinitely delayed Brexit, or a change of government or a second referendum".

With the dozens of Conservative Brexiteers potentially ready to reject a deal with Brussels based on Mrs May's plans, moderate figures in the party have appealed for support to the scores of Labour MPs who have previously rebelled against Mr Corbyn to vote in favour of a soft Brexit.

Mr Buckland added that there had been a realisation that "we all hang together or we all hang separately".

"The Chequers deal.is there because it delivers on the vote that people gave", May told reporters upon arrival at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, referring to a deal brokered at the prime minister's country residence last week.

"By October we would like to have a conclusion and reach a good agreement", said Roth, who was speaking at a summit in London.

Unhappily for May, his most effusive praise was reserved for the outgoing foreign secretary.

Ben Bradley and Maria Caulfield said that Mrs May's plans for close links with Europe after Brexit risked handing Jeremy Corbyn the keys to 10 Downing Street as they resigned their posts.

"It is the right Brexit deal for the people".

While insisting that the option cannot be ruled out, Mr Gauke told Today: "What I would say to those of my colleagues, if there are some, who think this is pain-free and this is just something that we can ride over very easily, is no deal will have a negative impact on our constituents, on the British public".

The resignations rocked May in a week that includes a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit starting Wednesday and a United Kingdom visit by US President Donald Trump from Thursday.

May will seek to put the diplomatic tensions behind her when she hosts Trump on Thursday for a black-tie dinner with business leaders at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of World War II prime minister Winston Churchill.

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