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Brexit: UK Cabinet to consider ramping up no-deal plans


Theresa May

The cabinet will discuss whether the government should ramp up preparations for a no-deal Brexit when it meets later this morning.

It comes after Theresa May said MPs would not vote on her Brexit deal until the third week in January.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a motion of no confidence in Mrs. May, saying she had led the UK into a “national crisis”.

Number 10 dismissed the motion as “silly political games”.

With 101 days left until Brexit and many MPs still opposed to the government’s withdrawal agreement, ministers are due to consider a paper on plans for leaving the EU without a deal.

But a no-deal Brexit is also opposed by many MPs.

A cross-party group of 60 of them have written to the prime minister, saying it would do “unnecessary economic damage”.

Mr. Corbyn is under pressure to push for a further vote of no confidence in the government as a whole.

On Monday night, he tabled a motion calling on MPs to declare they have no confidence in the prime minister because she failed to have a vote on her Brexit deal straight away.

Mr. Corbyn said that, by January, a month would have been wasted since the original 11 December vote was postponed, with “not a single word renegotiated and not a single reassurance given”.

“The deal is unchanged and is not going to change,” he said.

No 10 refused to make time for the motion.

Other parties – the SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and Greens have called on Mr. Corbyn to push for a no-confidence vote against the government as a whole.

Unlike a vote aimed at the prime minister, the government would have to allow a vote on this motion and, if successful, it could force a general election.

However, Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of Northern Ireland’s DUP, which has propped up the Conservative government since June 2017, dismissed Mr Corbyn’s move as “parliamentary antics”.

Mrs. May also appeared to have the support of pro-Brexit backbench critics who last week failed in a bid to oust her as Tory leader.

One of them, Steve Baker, said: “Eurosceptic Conservatives are clear that we accept the democratic decision of our party to have confidence in Theresa May as PM. We will vote against Labour in any confidence motion.”

On Tuesday, the Daily Telegraph published a letter by 53 business leaders, including former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King and Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis, calling on the prime minister to “take her deal to the British people”.

“The prime minister abandoned the most important vote in the House of Commons for a generation because she knew she could not secure a parliamentary majority for her deal,” they wrote.

They said last week’s rebellion by her own MPs “underlines the impossibility of resuscitating it”.

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