Why local Conservative MPs are still backing Theresa May despite Brexit resignations


Steve Barclay took over as Brexit Secretary but with a reduced role.

The 585-page withdrawal agreement, which is due to be signed off at a special European summit next week, was published alongside a shorter document setting out plans for the United Kingdom and EU's future relationship.

Barclay has been promoted from a minister of state at the Department of Health, according to The Guardian newspaper.

In a sign the Tory civil war over Brexit is not calming, Middle East minister Alistair Burt warned rebels the "consensus" that pro-EU MPs should reluctantly respect the 2016 referendum result could break down if she is toppled.

May's staunchly pro-Brexit worldwide trade secretary, Liam Fox, also came to her aid. Several other business groups and companies have also said the deal represented a key step forward, and financial markets largely stabilized on Friday after a tumultuous Thursday that saw the value of the pound suffer its steepest drop in two years.

Raab insisted he still supports May and would back her in any potential leadership challenge against her.

"Serving in high office is an honor and a privilege", but also a heavy responsibility, she said.

She said: 'I have always had realistic expectations of what the deal would look like because it was an incredibly hard thing to negotiate. "That is what the people voted for and that is what I am delivering".

Just hours after announcing that her senior ministers had collectively backed her divorce deal, Mrs May's premiership was thrust into its most perilous crisis to date when Mr Raab resigned on Thursday in opposition to the agreement. "I hope that across Parliament we'll recognize that a deal is better than no deal", he said.

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But when quizzed on the PM's future in her party, he said that he still supported her and said he would not support a leadership challenge against her. May's perilous position puts at risk the fruits of two years of negotiations and raises the chance that Britain will crash out of the European Union without a deal in March.

The deal drove a group of disaffected Brexiteers to try to topple May by submitting letters saying they have lost confidence in her leadership.

"I think there is one thing that is missing and that is political will and resolve".

The United Kingdom will leave the European Union and all its institutions on March 29, 2019, and move into a 21-month transition period, according to the draft deal.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up May's minority government, say they intend to oppose the deal because of the "backstop" mechanism agreed to by May would mean additional checks on goods passing between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

"Of course it has been a tough week, actually these negotiations have been tough right from the start, but they were always going to get even more hard right toward the end when we are coming to that conclusion".

South Staffordshire MP and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "I'm very supportive of the Prime Minister".

He added: "How awful the phrase "no deal.' From here on in we should call it 'a Clean Global Brexit". Faced with the prospect of a terrifying no-deal or another referendum, or general election, it remains possible that sceptical MPs could be cajoled into supporting it.