May's Deputy to Brief Opposition Labour Lawmakers on Brexit Deal

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Theresa May’s deputy will brief the opposition Labour Party on her Brexit deal on Monday, risking increased fury from pro-Brexit Tories as she tries to steer the agreement through the House of Commons.

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington and May’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, will meet with opposition lawmakers at 8 p.m. on Monday, two Labour members of Parliament said. That’s several hours after the premier herself is due to address the House of Commons.

While May is embarking on a national campaign to sell the Brexit contract directly to voters, it’s the battle in Parliament that really matters -- her deal will stand or fall on the votes of lawmakers in the House of Commons. And pro-Brexit Tories have warned she risks destroying her party if she relies on Labour votes to get it through.

The early signs aren’t promising for the premier, with all opposition parties pledging to vote the deal down, as well as May’s nominal allies in Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party and a swathe of rank-and-file members of her own Conservative Party. Labour lawmakers have repeatedly complained about May’s failure to engage with them throughout the negotiations, and one said on Monday that it’s simply too late.

Members of May’s cabinet took to Twitter on Sunday with a series of supportive tweets using the hashtag #BackTheBrexitDeal. And the premier in her statement will warn that if Parliament rejects the deal, Britain would be “back to square one." She’s refused to rule out quitting as premier if she fails.

And Lidington’s briefings for opposition lawmakers don’t have a good track record. A similar meeting in July to sell the Chequers agreement to Labour broke up in disarray as news broke of Boris Johnson’s resignation as foreign secretary.

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