Rebel MPs call on Boris Johnson to seek 'insurance policy' Brexit extension

MPs will vote on the Prime Minister's revised deal on Saturday. (Reuters)

Several former Conservative MPs have called on the Prime Minister to seek a Brexit extension even if he manages to get his deal through Parliament on Saturday.

The group, who had the whip removed last month over their opposition to Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans, said they would vote for the deal but indicated they would like the “insurance policy” of another extension.

Sir Oliver Letwin has tabled an amendment to the government’s motion that would force Mr Johnson to write to the EU requesting more time for the deal to be written into law amid fears Britain could run out of time and crash out by accident.

One MP within the exiled group of 21 MPs told The Times: “It’s an insurance policy against no-deal.”

Sir Oliver Letwin has tabled a motion asking the Prime Minister to request a further extension. (Reuters)

The Prime Minister said during a press conference on Thursday he is "very confident" the majority of MPs will back his deal, despite the DUP’s non-compliance.

The government is hopeful that the majority of the 21 rebel MPs will vote for the deal as a possible first step to them rejoining the Conservative party.

Sir Nicholas Soames, one of the group, said: “The goal of the 21 was we would not vote for no-deal. But they have done it, great credit to them and our European partners.


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“Boris now has a moment to bring the House and the country together, I take my hat off to him.”

Others from the group including Stephen Hammond, Ed Vaizey and Greg Clark also indicated they would be prepared to vote for the new deal.

It comes after EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker piled the pressure on MPs to back the deal in the parliamentary showdown by raising doubts over any further delay to the UK’s departure past October 31.

European Council President Donald Tusk also said if there is a request for an extension he will “consult with other member states to see how they react”.

On Thursday, MPs approved a motion to hold the first weekend sitting of Parliament since the Falklands conflict.

If Parliament does not vote for the agreement on Saturday, Mr Johnson could be forced to request a delay until 31 January 2020 from Brussels as he is compelled to under the Benn Act.

A total of 635 votes will be in play when the deal is debated, which means the government will need at least 318 votes to be certain of a majority.

If every Conservative MP who is able to vote also backs the deal, it would give the government 285 votes.

Mr Johnson did not rule out suspending the whip from Tories who rebelled on Saturday, or say whether he would welcome back the 21 he exiled for previously voting against his will.

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