U-turn as Sir Edward Leigh among group backing May's deal

A handful of Conservative MPs have come out in favour of Theresa May’s EU deal, including Sir Edward Leigh who had previously opposed it.

Sir Edward, who was made a Privy Cousellor a few weeks back, says that it is “inconceivable” that Parliament and the Speaker would allow the UK to leave the EU on WTO terms.

“Therefore my message to my fellow Brexit-supporting MPs is you are playing with fire if you vote down this deal in the hope of something better, and the only way to deliver Brexit is to vote for the deal this week.”

Back in October he had advised the government to say to the European Union: “Thank you for your offer of a Canada+ trade deal. We accept it for the whole of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

He had also backed the anti-Chequers, anti-May deal Stand Up 4 Brexit campaign.

They confirmed that they had since removed his name from their campaign.

And his colleague Caroline Johnson has apparently changed her mind as well: “As a Brexiteer I am unhappy with some aspects of the deal and had intended to vote against it.

“However I have come to realise that the Prime Minister is trying to deliver Brexit via a remain Parliament some of whom seem ready to go to any length to frustrate the referendum result and stop Brexit.”

Other Tory MPs now backing May’s plan include Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and Andrew Murrison, who doesn’t exactly give it a ringing endorsement: “After last week’s operation by the Speaker and hard-over Remainers to reverse Brexit and the prospect of more tricks to come, I’ve decided I have to back the Withdrawal Agreement so that we deliver on the referendum as promised.

“I’m still concerned about the EU’s unnecessary, politically inspired, Northern Ireland backstop. It must be ditched or time-limited if Brussels and Dublin are sincere about their future relationship with the UK.”

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Will be interesting to see how this move goes down with the pro-No Deal Conservative membership. Good to see that some Brexiteers have the bottle to stand firm, even if others are now folding into backing the government at the last minute.