May defends Brexit deal, opponents plot no-confidence vote

Brexit clash intensifies - AM

Rees-Mogg launched a tirade against May and her draft at the British Parliament, submitting a letter of no-confidence against the Prime Minister.

But while Theresa May's leadership has been called into question, Conservative MPs across the region say they will still back her plan for Brexit.

May has strongly defended her draft deal amid calls for no-confidence and a flurry of resignations.

Mr Gove also said he had "absolute" confidence in the Prime Minister, while Dr Fox, the International Trade Secretary, said it was "in the national interest" to back her.

The two ministers, who both left the Cabinet in July in protest at the Prime Minister's Brexit plans, are said to have made plans in case Mrs May is toppled this week.

The biggest sticking point in the over 500-page draft remains over what is termed as a Northern Ireland backstop, which leaves the EU with the option of keeping the whole of the United Kingdom within a common Customs Union if a future trading relationship fails to be thrashed out during the transition period, set to run until December, 2021.

In another development, Ireland's deputy premier has warned MPs to sign up to the Brexit agreement or risk crashing out of the European Union without a deal.

But Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "After two years of negotiation, the prime minister has failed to deliver a Brexit deal that can command the support of Parliament".

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After the most tumultuous week of her premiership, which saw senior ministers quit over the draft divorce deal agreed with the EU, Mrs May said she would be heading to Brussels for talks on the "future relationship".

If a confidence vote is held and May loses, it would trigger a party leadership contest in which any Conservative lawmaker-except her-could run. Britain had voted in favour of Brexit in a referendum in June 2016, which led to the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to set the clock on the country's formal exit from the 28-member bloc by March 29, 2019.

After a day of conflicting rumors about whether 48 letters had been sent, leading Brexiteer Steve Baker said, "I think we're very close".

"Some politicians get so embroiled in the intricacies of their argument they forget it is not about this theory or that theory, or does it make me look good", she added.

According to the BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg, the group of ministers want a change in the text to include the possibilities of new technology or a free trade deal as alternative solutions to the Irish border issue.

Asked what she would do if the vote was lost, May said: "There's a process that parliament will go through".

However in a boost to May, Michael Gove, 51, the most prominent Brexit-supporting minister, gave his backing to her, saying he would stay on in government as environment minister. "It would be to take a path of deep and grave uncertainty when the British people just want us to get on with it".

He was confident the country would vote to remain, but voters opted by 52 percent to 48 percent to quit the European Union, a result that left both the Conservatives and the country more divided than ever.

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