BORIS Johnson is embarking on a 24-hour charm offensive today to sell his “great new” Brexit deal, with 10 Labour rebels set to back him according to reports.
The PM faces a race against time ahead of Saturday’s showdown in the Commons after the DUP vowed to vote down his agreement.
The PM has also left the door open to restoring the whip to the 21 ex-Tory MPs he sacked last month for backing the Brexit-delaying Benn Act in another bid to boost his numbers.
This morning, sacked Tory rebel Margot James has confirmed she will vote for the deal tomorrow.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today refused to say if Conservatives voting against the deal would have the whip removed.
However, he also needs the support of Labour Brexiteers – with 10 are ready to enrage Jeremy Corbyn by pushing the deal through, the Huffington Post reports.
The rebels will back Boris if he publishes a bill before Saturday that would offer EU-style protection to workers’ rights.
The PM – who met with the rebels at No10 this morning – is expected to unveil a bumper worker’s right package today as he desperately tries to woo Labour’s Leave MPs.
No10 think they need around 15 to switch and back his deal to get it over the line.
If Boris can write all these things onto the face of a bill, and bring that bill forward pronto, we can vote for it.
Sources claim the rebels are so fed up with delays to Brexit that they are willing to push through “any deal”.
A Labour back-bencher told the HuffPo: “In some ways, this is weaker than May’s deal because it takes them from the withdrawal agreement and puts them into the non-binding political declaration.
“But if Boris can write all these things onto the face of a bill, and bring that bill forward pronto, we can vote for it.”
But speaking earlier this week, a Labour source told The Sun that 19 MPs were ready to support a Brexit deal.
The group – including Dan Jarvis, Caroline Flint, Sarah Peacock and Melanie Onn – wrote a letter to EU chiefs to assure them they would vote it through.
They said: “The 19 are rock solid in favour of a deal but there are several others ready to jump aboard to get Brexit done.
“If Boris Johnson can bring one back that his party supports, then he will have the numbers to get it through the Commons.”
Labour MP Graham Stringer said today he was “thinking hard” about backing Boris’ deal.
He told LBC: “The SNP and Lib Dems just want to delay and delay… the biggest damage to the economy is not leaving, it’s the uncertainty.”
Labour boss Mr Corbyn will face pressure to remove the whip from MPs who back Mr Johnson’s agreement.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said there would be “consequences” for MPs in his party who voted for Mr Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement.
He told the BBC: “This is a three-line whip and the chief whip, in the normal way, will determine the consequences for anyone who doesn’t vote for it.
Asked what they might be, he replied: “I’m not the chief whip thank goodness; I’ve got enough on my plate.”
This is a three-line whip and the chief whip, in the normal way, will determine the consequences for anyone who doesn’t vote for it.
Mr McDonnell said he did not think Labour MPs would go through the Government lobby on Saturday once they studied the detail of the deal.
The veteran leftie said: “I don’t believe there are Labour MPs out there who will not think through the detail of this deal and then when they see the impact, particularly environmental, consumers’ and workers’ rights, will vote for it.
“This is up to the chief whip – I believe in the powers of persuasion. I believe we can persuade people and make sure, as they did over Theresa may’s deal, vote against it because this deal is worse than Theresa May’s. It is a sell-out.”
‘RACE TO THE BOTTOM’
Last night Mr Corbyn declared Labour will not back the new Brexit deal – without bothering to read all of it.
The Islington North MP blasted Mr Johnson’s plan and warned it risks triggering a “race to the bottom” for workers’ rights.
But he admitted that he had not even read the full Brexit blueprint before dismissing it.
Speaking in Brussels yesterday, he stormed: “From what we have read of this deal it doesn’t meet our demands or expectations.
“It creates a border down the Irish Sea between Britain and Northern Ireland and it leads once again to a race to the bottom in terms of rights and protections for British citizens.”
He added: “From what we know, it seems the Prime Minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May’s, which was overwhelmingly rejected.”
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