There was a deep cabinet split over whether Theresa May should support a second referendum to end political stalemate over Brexit, as the senior Conservatives had predicted on Saturday night that their plan to leave the EU would target a crushing lower house defeat ,
The growing mood of the constitutional crisis before the decisive parliamentary vote on Tuesday is helping to make Number 10 ready for further resignations of ministers and aides who want another referendum or who believe that Mays may not reach agreement on Brexit. Colchester MPs and Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson's advisor Will Quince quit his job on Saturday night in protest at the Brexit deal.
Cabinet ministers told that observer These attempts to convince May to postpone the vote to avoid one of the biggest and most humiliating defeats in recent parliamentary history were ignored. This was despite the obvious danger that such a result could provoke a leadership challenge and irreversibly divide the party. Some cabinet ministers now believe that May is so closely associated with their Brexit deal that their only method of obtaining approval will be another referendum – and that the arguments for a second vote are stronger than for a soft Brexit. The prime minister has so far refused to think about a second public vote.
A Cabinet source said it may prove the only way to save May's deal and reputation. "She is so committed to her deal, and a second referendum may now be the only way to achieve it. Surveys have been remarkably stable for some time, but there seems to be some kind of movement [to Remain]and that could develop well in the coming days and weeks. "
Another Senior Tory, who supported a second referendum, said, "There are people in the Cabinet who support a second referendum, but they ride several horses so they do not have to stop."
There are even talks between high-level ministers that May should form a temporary government of national unity, should it be defeated, as a "last throw" to find a majority for a working Brexit plan.
Amber Rudd, Secretary of Labor and Pensions, broke the ranks on Saturday and became the first Cabinet minister to openly propose alternatives to May's plan. Rudd argued that a soft Brexit in Norwegian style could be the way through the impasse. She also said in an interview with the Times that she did not rule out a second referendum and made it clear that if there was one, she would vote Remain.
Write in today observer However, Justice Minister David Gauke quits both the Norway option and a second referendum online, which in his opinion would be associated with "big risks". Gauke, who is heavily involved in the May deal, says a second referendum is "by no means guaranteed a silver bullet". In fact, it is more likely to aggravate the split and damage the uncertainty for at least another year. "
Downing Street said it was firmly against a second referendum and insisted that the prime minister focus on "meaningful voting". But a high-ranking conservative backer, aware of the opposition to May's deal in the party, said there could be at least 100 Tory MPs who would not support them. A close associate of former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that a defeat on this scale would leave May with no choice but to resign. "If it is under 50, she can probably go on and try to ask for concessions at Brussels a second vote. If it's 50 to 100, it's harder, but if it's over 100, it's impossible to see how it can go on. People already say that it's like in the last days of Rome and it can not go on like this. "
In a further strike for the Prime Minister, the All-Party-Select Committee on the Withdrawal from the European Union, which includes 10 members of Tory, published a unanimous and damning report on their deal on Sunday. The Committee believes that many of the key issues surrounding the UK's future relationship with the EU have gone unanswered as ministers are unwilling to address key issues. The committee chair, Labor MP Hilary Benn, said the deal was unclear and would be "a big step into the unknown".
The EESC agrees with the conclusion that "there are no realistic long-term government proposals to reconcile maintaining an open border on the island of Ireland with leaving the internal market and the customs union". As far as negotiations on trade between the EU and the EU Deal are concerned, the negotiations could be further delayed and complicated, "because the government has yet set clear goals for the future relationship that are realistic, workable and supported by Parliament."
On Sunday, Torys MP Sarah Wollaston shows a new strategy to secure another party's support for a second referendum. Instead of filing a change to Tuesday's main request as originally planned, she will launch a campaign to win MPs behind a second vote if May's deal fails. Tory MPs for a second-hoping laboratory will officially support the call so that a parliamentary majority can be formed. Wollaston said: "If the vote in parliament goes ahead, once it has been rejected, I will, at the earliest opportunity, bring in a cross-party amendment to push for a referendum. I urge the Labor Bank to live up to its promise to support it. No responsible government or opposition front bank could knowingly trigger the dire consequences of a dealless and transitionless collapse, and MEPs on both sides need to be realistic and honest with the public about not offering any more concessions or alternative offers. "
Downing Street announced yesterday that Environment Minister Michael Gove will end the debate on Tuesday evening. The vote will take place at 19.00. On Tuesday morning, speaker John Bercow will select up to six amendments to the Government's main motion seeking approval from May's deal. One of them – submitted by Benn and with strong bipartisan support – demands both the rejection of the deal and the expulsion of the no-deal result by Parliament. Senior MPs believe that if Benn's amendment is chosen by the speaker and accepted before the main motion, it could be accepted, meaning that the government motion will be replaced. The effect would be a double defeat for May and would limit their options as they would not be able to get a no deal. Some older MEPs say this would make a second referendum more likely.
Secretary of State Sir Alan Duncan said last night that May would have to stay even if she was badly beaten. "Whatever happens, Theresa May can not resign," he said. "The country needs you. Nobody can do it better. We need them to get through it. Nothing could be worse than a leadership contest while Brexit is not resolved. "
Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission, speaking at a conference in Portugal on Saturday attended by Jeremy Corbyn, called on the Labor leader to support a second referendum. He said, "The Brexit vote was the lowest point in my political life. We respect the vote. But since that vote, a lot has changed in the world. And the EU has changed. When I look at the United Kingdom and listen to Jeremy Corbyn and his plans, I have one question: as a member of the EU family or as an individual, can you more easily achieve what you want? "