Ministers push May to test different Brexits before Christmas

Pro-European ministers in Theresa May’s Cabinet are plotting to secure a Brexit they can live with.

Six ministers have urged May to force Parliament to vote informally on a range of Brexit outcomes, according to people familiar with the situation. The plan is to show that there’s no majority for any kind of divorce in a bid to get lawmakers to accept a compromise.

Once it’s clear that no one’s first option commands enough support, the idea is that May’s deal - which is widely loathed - might then look like a reasonable compromise with a decent chance of success, according to two Cabinet ministers.

But it could also flush out support for keeping closer ties to the bloc than the premier is proposing. There’s even a chance that the exercise could point the way to a second referendum, which May has repeatedly rejected.

May - who survived a leadership challenge on Wednesday - doesn’t like the plan as it could have unforeseen consequences, according to one of the people.

what now in Brexit

Ministers including Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Justice Secretary David Gauke, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Education Secretary Damian Hinds are urging May to hold a series of "indicative votes", according to eight people familiar with the situation.

There’s pressure to hold the votes as soon as next week, according to three of the people.

May abandoned a vote in parliament this week on her deal as she expected to lose it by a wide margin. She’s now seeking some tweaks to the agreement in the hope that will make it more acceptable to lawmakers. Still, the European Union has made it clear that only clarifications, rather than real changes, are on offer.

No date has been set for another vote in Parliament, and May has indicated she thinks she has until January 21 to have another go.

With just over 100 days until Britain is due to leave the European Union, Parliament is split over what Brexit should mean. May’s proposal doesn’t have a majority, but neither does the looser arrangement favoured by Brexiteers. It’s not clear if a Norway-style deal preferred by Europhiles would command a majority.


ZAR/USD
17.01
(-0.43)
ZAR/GBP
21.23
(-0.37)
ZAR/EUR
19.13
(-0.32)
ZAR/AUD
11.81
(-0.57)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-0.25)
Gold
1774.43
(-0.02)
Silver
18.05
(+0.69)
Platinum
807.99
(+0.14)
Brent Crude
42.92
(+2.64)
Palladium
1914.84
(+1.50)
All Share
54521.90
(-0.17)
Top 40
50179.89
(-0.26)
Financial 15
10150.02
(-0.64)
Industrial 25
76554.73
(+0.52)
Resource 10
50138.02
(-1.24)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm not really directly affected
18% - 1574 votes
I am taking a hit, but should be able to recover in the next year
23% - 2068 votes
My finances have been devastated
34% - 3083 votes
It's still too early to know what the full effect will be
25% - 2238 votes
Vote