MERIDEN MP Dame Caroline Spelman has appeared to rule out voting against the government to avoid a no-deal Brexit after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deselection threat.
It had been rumoured that Dame Caroline is set to vote today for a motion to delay Brexit until next year.
It would also prevent leaving the EU without a deal unless a withdrawal agreement is secured – or no-deal is approved in Parliament.
But Dame Caroline – who has long campaigned to avoid no-deal – told us simply today: “For the record I am not going to vote against the government.”
We have put further questions to her for clarification and await answers.
It is thought newly elected Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson will tonight face a rebellion from previously senior figures within his party to block a no-deal.
He has pledged to leave the EU without a deal by October 31, if necessary – but claims his first priority is to secure a withdrawal agreement with Brussels.
Last week, he received approval from the Queen to controversially ‘prorogue’ or suspend Parliament for nearly five weeks in the run up to the October 31 deadline.
And this week the government has threatened MPs with deselection if they vote to delay Brexit.
This will mean they would have the whip withdrawn and would not stand as Conservative candidates in an election..
The government has indicated that if the rebels are successful a snap general election could be called.
The ex-cabinet minister Dame Caroline – who voted Remain in the EU referendum in 2016 – told us in response to questions last month: “The result of the referendum should be respected and leaving the EU with a deal in place will best position us to take advantage of the opportunities Brexit presents.
“A ‘No Deal’ Brexit would threaten our regional and national economy, putting manufacturing jobs in the West Midlands at risk.
“I will continue to warn about the risks of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, whilst supporting the government in its policy to leave the EU with an agreement in place.
“A general election would not be in the national interest.”
In the referendum, 56 per cent of constituents from Solihull – which includes Meriden – voted to Leave the EU.
Dame Caroline has become a central figure in the push to avoid a ‘no deal’.
She formed an unlikely partnership earlier this year with Labour MP for Erdington Jack Dromey in an attempt to block any no-deal Brexit, when their non-binding Commons amendment was supported in a vote of MPs.