MPs to have final Brexit vote by 12 March

Britain"s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing street in central LondonImage copyright
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MPs will be able to have a final vote on the Brexit deal by 12 March, Prime Minister Theresa May has said.

Speaking to reporters as she travelled to a summit in Egypt, Mrs May ruled out holding the parliamentary vote on her deal this week.

She said talks with the European Union were “still ongoing”.

Earlier, Environment Secretary Michael Gove urged his cabinet colleagues against backing a Commons vote on delaying Brexit.

Mr Gove said it would be the “wrong thing to do” if cabinet ministers Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke supported the bid, which would push back the UK’s exit date of 29 March.

On the plane to Sharm el-Sheikh for a summit between EU leaders and Arab league countries, Mrs May said leaving the EU with a deal and on time on 29 March was still “within our grasp”.

She made it clear that she would not be taking action against ministers who had warned they would vote to delay Brexit if no agreement had been ratified.

Mrs May said extending the process “doesn’t solve the problem”.

Mrs May repeatedly said there were “strong views” in cabinet, in Parliament and the country – but denied that collective responsibility in government had broken down.

The three Tory MPs – Mr Clark, Ms Rudd and Mr Gauke – told the Daily Mail they would support moves to extend Article 50, the legal mechanism to see the UK leave the EU on 29 March, to avoid a “disastrous” no deal Brexit, unless a deal is agreed “in the next few days”.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr, Mr Gove refused to say whether they could keep their jobs if they backed a delay.

But Mr Gove said: “It’s not just about a potential extension of Article 50, it’s about taking power away from the government. And who knows where we might end up?

“We might end up with a second referendum, which would do real damage to our politics.”

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Media captionGove: “I will do everything I can to persuade colleagues to stay in government.”

Mr Gove said progress was being made in Brexit negotiations between the UK and EU but that he did not know if there would be a final vote on the Brexit deal in the Commons this week.

On Wednesday, MPs will be able to put forward a range of amendments to show what direction they want Brexit to take.

One, tabled by Labour’s Yvette Cooper and Conservative Sir Oliver Letwin, would give Parliament the opportunity to delay Brexit and prevent a no-deal situation if there is no agreement with the EU by the middle of March.

In the Daily Mail. Business Secretary Mr Clark, Work and Pensions Secretary Ms Rudd and Justice Secretary Mr Gauke said if the European Research Group of pro-Leave backbench Tory MPs stood in a way of the withdrawal deal, they would be forced to vote for the amendment.

The ERG would then have “no one to blame but themselves for delaying Brexit,” the trio said.

Tory MP and leader of the ERG, Jacob Rees-Mogg told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics that, for ministers, “the act of voting against the government is the act of resignation”.

The prime minister has said there must be no party “purges” over MPs with differing views.

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