Former Tory Minister Warns: At Least 40 Conservative Mps Will Block No-Deal Brexit
“I don’t care how many of my colleagues dream of this in the midnight hour. There are not the parliamentary numbers to support a no-deal Brexit,”

A former Tory minister has warned party at least 40 Conservative MPs will vote to prevent a “no-deal” exit from the EU.

Nick Boles, the former skills and housing minister, said there was “a lot of support” among mainstream Tory MPs for combining with opposition parties to prevent Brexit without any agreement.

“I don’t care how many of my colleagues dream of this in the midnight hour. There are not the parliamentary numbers to support a no-deal Brexit,” Boles told the Financial Times, “And I will vote, as a Conservative MP, in whatever way is necessary, on whatever motion will achieve the result of stopping a no-deal Brexit.”

“I think there is a lot of support for it [voting against no-deal] amongst my colleagues . . . I can think of 40 Conservative MPs — at least — who will not support a no-deal Brexit.”

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The prospect of an exit from the EU without a withdrawal deal has appeared to grow over the summer as the talks remain deadlocked, with some Tories – led by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Iain Duncan Smith – insisting it holds no fears.

Boles, the former skills and housing minister, has echoed that readiness, arguing his party must pursue a “reasonable Brexit deal that everybody can live with”.

He entered parliament as the MP for Grantham and Stamford in Lincolnshire in 2010 and served in government for four years before returning to the backbenches. A former supporter of remaining in the EU, he now believes there must be a Brexit deal that pleases both sides.

Boles said in the interview: “What we can’t allow is for one side to win and to grind the faces of the other side in the dust . . . I put colleagues of mine in both camps squarely in my sights when I say that. There is a lot of impetuous, intolerant, intemperate talk and it’s not helping the country at all — it’s not actually helping achieve a good deal and it’s not going to be good for Britain.” Boles told the Financial Times.

“The way to honour it [the referendum] is to compromise with our European partners, and to achieve a compromise within the country between those people who care most about business success and others who care most about control of our borders.” He added.

Some pro-Brexit Tories simply believe the no-deal threat strengthens Britain’s hand in the exit talks – but others are desperate for that “clean break”, rather than to accept further compromise with Brussels.

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