Two West Midlands MPs are leading a campaign to block a “no-deal” Brexit.

Birmingham MP Jack Dromey, Labour MP for Erdington, and Caroline Spelman, Conservative MP for Meriden, are set to propose a Commons vote next week to rule out leaving the EU without a deal.

Mr Dromey said it could lead to Brexit, due to take place on March 29, being delayed while MPs from all parties work together to come up with a new Brexit withdrawal deal.

He said: “If you prevent Britain being taken over the cliff on March 29 then it may be essential to extend the timetable to enable a way forward to be found.

“There is a growing consensus around that, because there simply is not enough time left to get it right before March 29.”

The pair are behind a letter signed by 255 MPs that urges the Government to rule out a “no-deal” Brexit.

It states: “Leaving without a deal would make continued investment in UK manufacturing a real challenge for global firms, when they have plants in other European locations.”

Jack Dromey MP: rallying call

MPs hold a vote on Tuesday, January 15, on whether to accept Theresa May’s proposed Brexit withdrawal agreement.

If they reject her plans, as appears likely, the Prime Minister is expected to make a statement on Monday January 21 setting out what she proposes instead.

There will be a vote following her statement and the motion will be amendable, allowing MPs to rule out leaving without a deal.

 

Mrs Spelman, a former Environment Secretary and Conservative Chair, is backing Mrs May’s proposed withdrawal agreement - but said she accepted it was unlikely to be approved by MPs.

She said: “We do want to give Parliamentary expression to how to avoid crashing out without a deal.”

MP Caroline Spelman.
MP Caroline Spelman.

She added: “What Jack and I are agreed on, and everyone who signed the letter, is that we don’t want to crash out without a deal.

“That means we have to find a deal that garners a majority of support in the House of Commons.

“So you have to keep on working until you find something that actually gets a majority.”

She said there were a number of options but she believed a majority in the House of Commons could support a deal which included protection of workers rights and measures to protect the environment, and which kept the UK in the Customs Union.

This would meet some of the concerns of manufacturers, who have warned that they need “frictionless” trade with the EU to continue.

 

Labour is to whip MPs to vote against Theresa May’s deal, and might then propose a motion of no confidence in the Government.

But if the deal is rejected - and Mrs May’s government survives a no confidence vote - Mrs Spelman and Mr Dromey hope Labour and Conservative MPs will be in a position to work together and agree what should be included in a new withdrawal agreement.

MPs will also have a chance to reject a “no deal” Brexit in a vote tomorrow, January 15, when they consider an amendment proposed by Labour MP Hilary Benn. However, Mr Benn’s amendment would have the effect of blocking Mrs May’s deal.

This means MPs such as Mrs Spelman, who want the Prime Minister’s deal to succeed, are unable to support Mr Benn’s proposal.

 

Mr Dromey said: “It is about a motion passed ensuring no to no deal.

“It is not a question of if, but simply when.

“There is the Hilary Benn amendment. If that does not succeed then it is a question of next week.”

He said a deal would probably need to include membership of the EU’s Customs Union in order to win the support of a majority of MPs, even though Theresa May has made this a “red line” that she would not support.

Mr Dromey said: “For a deal to pass through Parliament then those red lines will have to be torn up in favour of doing what’s right for Britain and British industry, and in particular, the issue of the Customs Union.”

He is a Labour Shadow Minister in the Work and Pensions team, but has been working with Mrs Spelman on his own initiative.