Theresa May under pressure after Gove rejects Brexit Secretary job

Virginia Carson
November 16, 2018

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey followed Raab out the door.

The stubborn defence of her plan followed a day of extraordinary scenes at Westminster, which started just before 9am with the resignation of her Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.

As the Prime Minister defended her deal in parliament this morning, ERG chief and Brexiter Jacob Rees-Mogg asked May why he shouldn't write a letter of no confidence in her as Tory leader. He said he could not "in good conscious support the terms" of the deal he helped to craft.

But she was warned by one of her own backbenchers it was "dead on arrival" and would not get the backing of MPs, during almost three hours of hostile questioning in the Commons.

If Brady receives 48 such letters, he is obliged to trigger a confidence vote.

This is a developing story.

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Evacuations are highest across Los Angeles County, with 170,000 across the county evacuated from their homes by officials. Chaplains accompanied some coroner search teams that visited dozens of addresses belonging to people reported missing.

News that a deal had been struck after a year and a half of negotiations was welcomed in Brussels, and European Union chief Donald Tusk called for a November 25 summit of leaders so they can rubber-stamp the agreement. Australia has an interest in having a free market liberal country and a close ally inside the councils of the EU.

May argued that her proposal on the withdrawal agreement was the best deal Britain could hope to get, warning that the only alternatives were risking leaving without a deal, or no Brexit at all.

Securing the deal has involved taking "difficult and uncomfortable decisions", she said, after facing widespread opposition to the draft deal from lawmakers in parliament earlier yesterday.

Prospects for approval for May's draft agreement look slim - and chances it will come to a vote at all are less than solid, too.

It also needs approval from Britain's Parliament before the United Kingdom leaves the bloc on March 29 - and even if May survives as leader, the chances of that look slim.

"There is another inescapable fact - there is no deal which can be agreed with the European Union that does not involve a backstop to act as an insurance policy against a return to the borders of the past in Northern Ireland".

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Her Conservative government doesn't have a parliamentary majority, and relies on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland.

Main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said May should withdraw the "half-baked" Brexit deal and that Parliament "cannot and will not accept a false choice between this deal and no deal".

"On both sides, we have exhausted our margin of manoeuvre", an official said, adding: "We think it is the best we can we can do with the constraints we have on both sides".

Ian Blackford, who heads the Scottish National Party in Parliament, said the deal was "dead on arrival" and urged May to "stop the clock and go back to Brussels". "Since performances of these companies set the tone for the global tech and chip industries, related Japanese stocks will likely be sluggish for a while", said Takatoshi Itoshima, a strategist at Pictet Asset Management.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said she understood Mr Gove had rejected the PM's offer to make him Brexit secretary, because May would not let him renegotiate the deal.

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