Rivals for PM pick their partners: Jacob Rees-Mogg urges Tories to back a ‘unity’ leadership team of Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd if Theresa May is toppled over her Brexit deal
- Jacob Rees-Mogg backs a Conservative ‘unity’ leadership if the PM is toppled
- The Brexiteer signalled his support for a Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd team
- Mr Rees-Mogg’s plea comes as Theresa May’s rivals prepare leadership bids
Jacob Rees-Mogg today urges fellow Tories to back a ‘unity’ leadership team of Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd if Theresa May is toppled during the crisis over her Brexit deal.
The influential hardline Brexiteer uses an article in today’s Mail on Sunday – published below – to signal his backing for pro-Brexit Mr Johnson to team up with Remainer Rudd, who yesterday infuriated No 10 by suggesting that the UK could pursue alternative options including ‘Norway Plus’ should Theresa May’s Brexit plan be rejected by MPs.
Mr Rees-Mogg’s plea comes as the main rivals for Mrs May’s crown prepare to launch their leadership bids. The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Home Secretary Sajid Javid was canvassing support among MPs on Friday, asking them directly if they would back him in a tilt at No 10.
A source said: ‘Sajid does not think she will have to go next week, but is preparing for the possibility she might be forced to.’
The ‘Shunt’ Couple: Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt – solitary jivers, or heading for a pas de deux? The ‘Bamba’ Couple: Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd – former foes, now dancing to the same tune. The ‘Daab’ Couple: David Davis and Dominic Raab – circling each other warily on the dancefloor, wondering who should take the lead
He is understood to have discussed running on a joint ticket with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, but the pair are at odds on who would take the top job in such a relationship.
Meanwhile, former Brexit Secretaries David Davis and Dominic Raab are also said to be locked in tense negotiations about who should be the ‘senior man’ if they join forces on one ticket.
Mr Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of Tory MPs, calls on Mrs May to stand down ‘regardless of whether she goes down to a crushing Commons defeat this week or tries to pull the vote’, adding: ‘It would be much better if she left of her accord rather than face a no-confidence motion.
‘Then a plan to benefit from Brexit is needed, as is the leadership ticket to progress and unite the country and the party. If, for example, leading figures from either side were prepared to come together such as Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd, they could potentially deliver the Brexit people voted for with a global, outward-looking UK that could succeed.’
Former Brexit Secretaries David Davis (pictured) and Dominic Raab are also said to be locked in tense negotiations about who should be the ‘senior man’ if they join forces on one ticket
The Somerset MP also rejects the claim by Mrs May – made in this newspaper today – that opposing the deal could open the door to a Jeremy Corbyn-led Government, saying instead that ‘refusing to deliver Brexit would lay a carpet of the deepest red upon which Mr Corbyn could walk into Downing Street’. A joint ticket with Mr Johnson as leader and Work and Pensions Secretary Ms Rudd as his deputy might unite the two Brexit factions – but it would create headaches when it came to forging a compromise between Mr Johnson’s ‘clean break’ Brexit and Ms Rudd’s Norway preference. Ms Rudd yesterday became the first Cabinet Minister to discuss publicly the merits of a ‘Plan B’ if Mrs May’s deal is defeated in Tuesday’s crunch vote.
In that case, she said, she would prefer a ‘Norway Plus’ model that would involve staying part of the European Economic Area, describing it as a ‘plausible’, but not a ‘desirable’ Plan B.
During the 2016 referendum campaign, Ms Rudd famously described Mr Johnson as a man obsessed with becoming PM, saying he was ‘not the man you want to drive you home at the end of the evening’. But last month she told The Mail on Sunday that she regularly lunched with Mr Johnson and said: ‘I don’t know what he’s going to do. He’s full of surprises. We chat, we’re not enemies.’
A similar paring between Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt may struggle to unite warring Conservatives. As both backed Remain, they have held talks with Leaver Andrea Leadsom in a bid to ‘shore up’ their support across all wings of the party.
Mr Javid and Ms Leadsom are to hold a shared Christmas drinks party next week, which has been seen as a ‘not subtle’ attempt to lay the ground for a leadership bid. But insiders say the trio had cooled on the idea in recent days over who would take the top job.
Amber Rudd yesterday infuriated No 10 by suggesting that the UK could pursue alternative options including ‘Norway Plus’ should Theresa May’s Brexit plan be rejected by MPs
Meanwhile, Brexiteers are squabbling over who could successfully be deployed as a ‘stop Boris’ candidate from their ranks.
Mr Raab’s resignation from the Cabinet last month over Mrs May’s deal boosted his chances, but also pitted him against Mr Davis, his former mentor. It is understood that allies of Mr Davis have urged Mr Raab to stand aside and back Mr Davis’s bid, on the grounds that Mr Raab is ‘not experienced enough’ to run now and not yet ready to handle the ‘pressure of media scrutiny’.
However friends of Mr Davis denied any of his allies had said that. Mr Raab’s colleagues also denied the reports.
Tory party chiefs believe that, if Mrs May is forced from office, then a replacement must come from the Cabinet.Others tipped to run, if only to secure themselves a strong position in a future administration, include Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Treasury Secretary Liz Truss and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt. But Brexiteers are angry Mr Gove and Ms Mordaunt did not resign over Mrs May’s Brussels deal.
Senior Tories have also tipped a ‘grey man’ stepping in, with Cabinet Office boss David Lidington tipped as a ‘caretaker leader’. However, his strong Remain views mean he would almost certainly be challenged by a Brexiteer, wrecking any chance of a ‘coronation’ and plunging the Government into a bitter six-week leadership battle.
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Dozens of senior business leaders throw their support behind Theresa May’s Brexit deal and call for an end to political uncertainty
By Neil Craven
Dozens of senior business leaders and organisations have thrown their support behind Theresa May’s Brexit deal and called for an end to the political uncertainty.
In a survey by The Mail on Sunday, 35 companies, trade bodies and executives urged MPs to back the Prime Minister, saying the transitional deal presented the best route to avoiding a no-deal Brexit and would encourage firms to begin investing in Britain again.
Iain Conn, chief executive at British Gas owner Centrica, said he had read most of the 585-page draft agreement and added: ‘Any negotiated withdrawal agreement to end the uncertainty and avoid unnecessary damage to the UK economy is significantly better than no deal. It is time to move forward.’
Firms backing the Prime Minister generate £120billion for the British economy
RBS boss Ross McEwan said the economy needed more certainty.
Others backing the deal include the UK subsidiaries of Aston Martin, Ford, Honda, Toyota and Vauxhall owner PSA as well as Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Siemens, Airbus and Bombardier,
Some continue to voice their concerns. Tim Martin, founder and chairman of pub chain Wetherspoon, believes the deal ‘sells Britain down the river’.
JACOB REES-MOGG: Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd could steer us away from the rocks
By Jacob Rees-Mogg
Theresa May unquestionably has many virtues. The Prime Minister is dutiful, patient and a good Christian.
However, she has not succeeded in the face of her greatest challenge: achieving a proper Brexit deal which honours the 2016 referendum result.
That is why – regardless of whether she goes down to a crushing Commons defeat this week or tries to pull the vote – she should stand down.
Indeed, the humiliation of avoiding a Commons vote is as much a reason for her departure as defeat in an actual vote.
It is her policy which has failed and for which she is accountable.And it would be much better if she left of her accord rather than face a no-confidence motion.
The Conservative Party – and the nation – needs a new leader.
On its own, though, the departure of Theresa May is not enough.
Time is now short and it may well be worth paying for a standstill agreement to allow time to prepare for leaving on World Trade Organisation terms or to negotiate a free trade deal.
Then a plan to benefit from Brexit is needed, as is the leadership ticket to progress and unite the country and the party.
JACOB REES-MOGG: The Conservative Party – and the nation – needs a new leader
If, for example, leading figures from either side were prepared to come together, such as Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd, they could potentially deliver the Brexit people voted for with a global, outward looking UK that could succeed.
This may make it possible to steer the country away from the rocks towards which we are currently headed and instead lead us into the high seas of prosperity.
As for this doomed withdrawal deal, I regret to say it has turned the promises of the Government into fiction.
Even the Prime Minister herself has promised one thing and then done another.
The Conservative manifesto said that the UK would leave the Customs Union but the backstop potentially leaves us there until kingdom come.
Mrs May said that no one in her high position could envisage separation between constituent parts of the United Kingdom.
However, a whole protocol from the deal would separate Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
The European Court of Justice’s role was to be limited to citizens’ rights as we take back control of our laws.
Article 174 of the agreement states otherwise, though.
Similarly nothing was to be agreed until everything was agreed – but now the UK is to spend £39 billion with no guaranteed return.
Brexit was supposed to mean Brexit, not a passport to Britain becoming a vassal state.
This is a great risk for the Conservative Party, which now receives 70 per cent of its support from Leave voters.
In desperation, friends of No 10 claim that opposing the deal may open the door a Jeremy Corbyn-led government.
In fact, the reverse is true.
It is refusing to deliver Brexit that would lay a carpet of the deepest red upon which Mr Corbyn could walk into Downing Street.
EU must be joking! Baywatch icon Pamela Anderson backs Jeremy Corbyn to sort out Brexit crisis
Sharing a TV studio sofa with Pamela Anderson this summer reaped dividends for Jeremy Corbyn yesterday when the Baywatch icon backed him to sort out Brexit.
Firm support: Pamela Anderson with Jeremy Corbyn on TV in June
She took the Labour leader’s office by surprise by tweeting her backing for his approach to resolving the crisis.
Ms Anderson appeared to state her preference for a Left-wing Brexit over a Right-wing version, writing: ‘Lexit is a left exit. Re – what Corbyn would do.By negotiating a Brexit for the people. That protects the ordinary person.’
Mr Corbyn sat side by side with Ms Anderson on ITV after an England vs Belgium World Cup game this summer.
She said then: ‘When they told me Jeremy Corbyn’s going to be here, I thought this was going to be a serious political programme.’
But the Labour leader was later teased for appearing at one point to cast a glance at Ms Anderson’s renowned cleavage.
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