A minister confirmed that the Government was looking at “a wealth of mechanisms” that would allow MPs to vote and express a view in the event of a no-deal situation.
Sources said there could be a compromise that could seek similar ends to the rebel amendment put down in Parliament by Dominic Grieve, though timing and content were up for grabs.
With Mrs May’s policy in flux again, opponents of a so-called hard Brexit staged a show of strength this morning ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions, saying they had secured the right to reject an extreme no-deal Brexit.
It followed conflicting accounts of a private meeting last night where Mrs May met a dozen senior rebels in order to avert a defeat on the issue. Downing Street would only say that Mrs May promised to consider Mr Grieve’s amendment. MPs hoped to flush out more of her position at question time.
Former minister Stephen Hammond, who was at the talks with Mrs May, said he “trusts entirely” the promises made by the Prime Minister. But he warned on Sky News: “If those amendments don’t come forward, I and a number of others will consider voting against the Government.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the biggest anti-EU Tory group, told the Standard he would wait and see what the new amendment said. But some hard Brexiteers went on the attack — even hinting at deselections for soft-Brexiters.
Right-winger Daniel Kawczynski tweeted: “Some MPs still clearly don’t wish to respect the will of the British people. I sincerely hope that their constituents will hold them to account.”
Former education secretary Nicky Morgan, one of the Tory rebel leaders, said Mrs May had said she understood that Parliament needed to have a voice in the event of MPs rejecting the deal she was attempting to negotiate with the EU. “What was agreed was the Prime Minister understood that Parliament wants to have a real say, in all circumstances, in relation to what’s going to happen in the Brexit deal,” she told the Today programme.
Brexiteers said they had been assured by No 10 that nothing had been given away beyond a promise to look at the issues. Senior hard-Brexiteers said it would be “unacceptable” to remove the threat of a no-deal Brexit from the table during EU negotiations.
Solicitor General Robert Buckland told the BBC he expected to produce a new amendment setting out proposals after discussions with MPs on all sides. He said he was “very interested in some of the concepts that Mr Grieve came up with” and added: “I think that mechanism may well give MPs a real say but the House of Commons itself has a wealth of mechanisms which will ensure that MPs have many opportunities, and indeed votes to have, if we did reach the very troublesome stage of no deal.”