Theresa May’s hopes of gaining cross-party support for her brainless Brexit deal were dashed when only 26 Labour MPs bothered to attend a briefing led by Bash Street Kid Gavin Barwell.
She had been hoping her chief of staff would be able to encourage a large number of Labour representatives to rebel against that party’s stated decision to vote against her agreement with the EU on December 11, offsetting the 90 or so Conservatives who are likely to rebel against her.
.@PaulBrandITV says only 26 Labour MPs turned up to rare government briefing, led by @GavinBarwell, about most important UK international and constitutional deal since UK joined what was then Common Market in '73. Not even crumb of hope of cross-party support for @theresa_may https://t.co/vGOLfknZmP
— Robert Peston (@Peston) November 26, 2018
And fewer than half that number of Labour MPs were ever likely to vote against their own whips, according to some sources:
UPDATE: The figure of Labour MPs who have not confirmed their position on Theresa May's Brexit deal has just reduced to 11.
Labour MP @grahamemorris has confirmed that he is voting against Theresa May's deal.
We are more than happy to clarify this.https://t.co/vCRCiuTojS
— Evolve Politics (@evolvepolitics) November 27, 2018
The Evolve Politics article lists the possible Labour rebels as: Caroline Flint (who has said she will support Mrs May’s deal), John Mann, Jon Cruddas, Ian Austin, Ronnie Campbell, Sir Kevin Barron, John Spellar, Jim Fitzpatrick, Laura Smith and Kevan Jones (all undecided).
A report on the meeting published by Politics Home, which claims to have obtained an exclusive recording, stated that one Labour MP suggested Mrs May’s agreement could be defeated by 150 votes.
And it suggested that the decision to seek support in the Labour Party had infuriated Conservative Brexiteers…
Any LAB MP that votes for Theresa May's basket case deal will never be forgiven or forgotten. Ever. No excuses. No if's no buts.
May's deal or no deal is not the only option. Don't let any mealy mouthed Blairite tell you this. No deal can clearly be voted down. https://t.co/KMQDnFCYvs
— Bevan Boy (@mac123_m) November 26, 2018
… so it seems the Conservative Party whips have resorted to dirty tricks:
One tactic allegedly being used by Tory whips is to threaten their MPs with ‘accidental’ leaks to the media about the MPs past misdemeanours. The desperation coming from Downing Street is unprecedented. They know she’s finished.
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) November 26, 2018
It is now well-known that the Tory whips hold information on the alleged misdemeanours of MPs – the so-called “sex spreadsheet” was a cause of much discussion around this time in 2017.
But even those Tory MPs who are guilty of such activities may decide to defy the whip in any case – and then brazen out any revelatory reprisals by dismissing them as falsehoods put about by a failing leadership.
Rachael Swindon (above) is right. If true, this threat really is an act of desperation.
Tick tock, Tory Theresa – your time is running out.
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