Key Brexiteer Gove Backs May's `Imperfect' Deal: Brexit Update

(Bloomberg) -- As Theresa May’s Brexit deal faces criticism from all sides, key Brexiteer Michael Gove has said that backing the “imperfect” agreement is the right thing to do.

  • Another row is brewing over the government’s legal advice on Brexit, with Labour’s Keir Starmer he’s considering steps to force publication in the coming week.
  • Starmer also said its “inevitable” that Labour will call a motion of no confidence in the government if May loses a vote her Brexit deal.
  • The Conservative Party’s Chairman Brandon Lewis says that May’s deal is the only option, and there is no Plan B.
  • Meanwhile, May has been aiming to strengthen the U.K.’s future trade ties at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Gove Backs May’s “Imperfect” Brexit Deal (10:57 a.m.)

Environment Secretary and key Brexiteer Michael Gove has told the BBC that, while May’s deal isn’t perfect, voting for it is the right thing to do. He says that he has some concerns over the backstop, but the issue is more uncomfortable for the European Union.

Gove believes May can win the vote on her Brexit deal, but the Prime Minister won’t have to go if she loses it it.

A second referendum would undermine the people’s faith in democracy, according to Gove, who was a key figure in 2016’s leave campaign. If it was to occur, Gove thinks people would vote in even larger numbers to exit the EU.

No Plan B for Brexit Deal, Lewis Says (9:54 a.m.)

Conservative Party Chairman Brandon Lewis says on Sky that May’s deal is the best for the country, and called on other lawmakers to back it. The deal is the only one on the table, with no other option, and “Plan B is Plan A,” he says.

The best way to avoid a no confidence motion in the Prime Minister is to vote for her deal, he says.

Conservative backbenchers weigh in (9:30 a.m.)

Rank-and-file Conservative lawmakers have also been having their say this morning. Nick Boles, who is an advocate of the so-called Norway for Now option, told Sky News that he intends to vote for May’s deal, but he thinks she should step down before the next election. He adds that he’s had conversations with six to eight members of the cabinet and leaders of other political parties about his own Brexit plan.

For more on Telegraph report on cabinet ministers’ talks click here

Earlier, Brexiteer Theresa Villiers -- who says she will vote against the deal and would favor a clean break -- said the problem was the policy not the person. She confirmed that she hasn’t submitted a letter calling for Theresa May to go, and would likely back her in any confidence vote.

Labour reiterate warning on legal advice (9:18 a.m.)

Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer says in a Sky News interview that the government will be ignoring lawmakers if it declines to publish the full legal advice. He confirms that he will try to force publication through contempt proceedings if that is the case.

He adds that if May loses her vote this month, there has to be a question of confidence in the government, and it’s “inevitable” Labour will move such a motion. There should be a general election in that situation, he says.

Government comes under pressure on legal advice (8:32 a.m.)

Sunday’s U.K. papers are full of fresh concerns over the government’s stance on its legal advice on Brexit. The Sunday Telegraph reports that the Democratic Unionist Party is set to join Labour and other opposition parties in writing a letter to force it to be published, a move which Sky News says could spark a "historic constitutional row."

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reports that Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s legal advice warns that the U.K. could be trapped “indefinitely” in a customs union with Brussels, citing a letter to cabinet ministers last month.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.