Here we go again, it’s going to be another high-stakes Brexit week in Westminster.
MPs prepare to back a soft exit. Theresa May could ask the Commons to vote on her deal for a fourth time. Some are freaking out the PM is about to call another snap election. Tory leadership candidates strut their stuff. And Labour’s wrangling over a second referendum continues. Here’s the main points from the Sunday shows.
Soft Brexit coming down the hill: With MPs set to hold a second round of “indicative” votes, David Gauke told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the PM would have to “look closely” at any option that could command a majority.
The option seen as mostly likely to emerge as the favourite is membership of a customs union. Something previously rejected by the PM.
“If parliament is voting overwhelmingly against leaving the European Union without a deal but is voting in favour of a softer Brexit, then I don’t think it’s sustainable to ignore parliament’s position and therefore leave without a deal,” Gauke said.
“I think we also have to recognise my party does not have the votes to get its manifesto position through the House of Commons at the moment.”
No-deal, no-thanks: The justice secretary also warned he “wouldn’t be able to remain a member of the government” if no-deal became official policy.
It comes after 170 Tory MPs – including 10 members of the cabinet – wrote to May urging her to take the UK out of the EU quickly as possible.
An election? ‘Don’t.’: John Major, the former Tory PM, warned a general election was the “last thing” the country needed.
Asked whether or not May should call an election this week, he replied: “Don’t. I mean don’t for a whole range of reasons.
National government: But he suggested a “time-limited unity government” may be required at some point.
“If we have a general election in the autumn, which I think is possible not certain, and we don’t get a government with a clear majority then I think it would be in the national interest to have a cross-party government so that we can take decisions without the chaos that we’re seeing in parliament at the moment where every possible alternative is rejected,” he told Marr.
Alistair Burt, the former Foreign Office minister who resigned from the government last week to back the indicative votes, also spoke for many Tory MPs this morning when asked on Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday about the possibility of an election. “I am with Brenda from Bristol on this, ‘Oh no, not another one!’” he said.
And as for Major’s suggestion it was almost time for a national government? Emily Thornberry told BBC Radio 5′s Pienaar’s Politics: “I’m alright thanks mate.”
Second referendum: Over in Labour land, Tom Watson told Marr said it would be “inconceivable” that a second referendum would not be in the party’s next manifesto. But as the party’s deputy leader noted, he is only “one vote around the table”.
Thornberry said it was “likely” Britain would leave the EU under a Labour government, although there was a strong case for a public vote.
“I think that it is quite difficult for us to leave the European Union, most of us campaigned for Remain. I think in our hearts we want to remain, but the difficulty is that we have to square that with democracy. We are democrats above everything else,” she told Ridge.
The shadow foreign secretary said there needed to be “injection” of democracy. Whatever that means.