More than 200 MPs call on Theresa May to rule out no deal

More than 200 MPs from different political parties have signed a letter to Theresa May, urging her to rule out a no-deal Brexit

UK PM Theresa May
UK PM Theresa May

More than 200 MPs from different political parties have signed a letter to Theresa May, urging her to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

The MPs, including both Leave and Remain supporters, have been invited to meet the prime minister on Tuesday.

Tory ex-cabinet minister Dame Caroline Spelman, who organised the letter with Labour MP Jack Dromey, said a no-deal Brexit would cause job losses.

It comes ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote on whether to back May's deal.

The PM's deal which covers the terms of the UK's divorce and the framework of future relations with the EU, has already been agreed with EU leaders.

But it needs to pass a vote by MPs before it is accepted. The vote is expected to happen on either 14 or 15 January.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 whether the deal is passed by MPs or not.

Writing in Daily Telegraph, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the option of leaving the EU with no deal is "closest to what people voted for" in the 2016 EU referendum.

And Tory MP Damian Green, also an ex-cabinet minister, said the onus was on the MPs to say what deal they would support.

It comes as a major exercise involving more than 100 lorries is being carried out in Kent to test out how to manage traffic queues near the Channel ports in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

May's deal is facing opposition from many of her own MPs, as well as Labour and other opposition parties including the Remain-supporting Liberal Democrats.

The DUP, which May's Conservative Party relies on for a majority in Parliament, has said it would not back the deal.

Many Conservative MPs continue to believe the deal does not represent the Brexit the country voted for, and some are actively calling for Britain to leave with no deal.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it would automatically fall back on World Trade Organisation rules - which would apply automatically to trade between the UK and EU.

Boris Johnson said that a 'no deal' is the closest to what the 'people voted for'

On Monday Brexiteer Johnson said of all the options suggested, the no-deal option is "gaining in popularity" and dismissed the warnings against it which he said were "downright apocalyptic".

"In spite of, or perhaps because of, everything they have been told, it is this future that is by some margin preferred by the British public," he said.

Johnson said, "we must hope that Theresa May does remove the backstop from the withdrawal agreement, in such a way as to give real legal protection to the UK.

"Failing that, we should approach the challenge of leaving on WTO terms in a way that is realistic and sensible, but also with the optimism and self-confidence displayed by the majority of the British public."

On Sunday, Tory MP Peter Bone told Sky News the best way to "get on" with Brexit was to leave without a deal, which would be "absolutely OK".

He said support for leaving without a deal was "hardening".

But speaking on Sunday, May warned that if Parliament rejects her Brexit deal, the country faces "unchartered territory."

The UK's exit in March was "in danger" if MPs did not vote for it, she added.

As well as the invite to all signatories of the letter to Downing Street, May has also invited all Tory MPs to drinks receptions on Monday and Wednesday.

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