Brexit: May to deploy dozens of ministers around UK in last-ditch attempt to build support for deal

Theresa May is to deploy 30 ministers around the UK on Friday in a last-ditch attempt to convince MPs to vote for her Brexit deal.

Senior cabinet ministers including Philip Hammond and Matt Hancock, the health secretary, are among those who will make another late push to garner support for Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement ahead of Tuesday’s vote.

They will visit a Chertsey school and Portsmouth hospital respectively, while Cabinet Office minister David Lidington, Mrs May’s de facto deputy, will meet small business leaders in Belfast and Scotland secretary David Mundell will speak to employers in Glasgow.

Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay, meanwhile, will visit engineering companies in Peterborough and the East Midlands.

Mrs May said: “We have delivered a deal that honours the vote of the British people.

“I’ve been speaking to factory workers in Scotland, farmers in Wales and people right across the country, answering their questions about the deal and our future.

“Overwhelmingly, the message I’ve heard is that people want us to get on with it.

“And that’s why it’s important that ministers are out speaking with communities across the UK today about how the deal works for them.”

It came as Tory backbenchers tabled an amendment to the meaningful vote designed to give Parliament a say over the implementation of a backstop in Northern Ireland.

Hugo Swire, a former Northern Ireland minister, tabled the amendment along with Bob Neill and Richard Graham.

It would add provisions for the Commons to “approve the government’s proposed approach, including whether or not an extension to the implementation period should be pursued; and parliamentary approval of the commencement of the powers implementing the Northern Ireland backstop”.

Mr Graham, who sits on the Exiting the EU Committee, told the Press Association that it had been clear for some time that the backstop “was and remains the thing that gives colleagues the most concern”.

He said: “What we are trying to achieve is something that gets a lot of support from colleagues and that the government, we hope, will take forward because it will make a real difference to the vote.”

However, DUP leader Arlene Foster, whose party opposes Ms May’s deal, warned that the amendment would not be enough, tweeting: “Domestic legislative tinkering won’t cut it.

“The legally binding international withdrawal treaty would remain fundamentally flawed as evidenced by the attorney general’s legal advice.”

Additional reporting by PA

The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.

Sign our petition here

Leave a Reply