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Brexit: Theresa May refuses unconditional support for next PM

Theresa May

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EPA

Theresa May has refused to promise unconditional support for her successor’s Brexit plan.

Asked if she would back whichever Brexit outcome the next prime minister achieves, including a no-deal Brexit, she said that amounted to agreeing to “whatever happens in future”.

Jeremy Hunt or Boris Johnson will be announced the winner of the Tory Party leadership race on 23 July.

Both men have said they would try to renegotiate a deal with the EU.

Speaking to journalists on her official flight to the G20 summit in Osaka, Mrs May said: “It is important that we deliver a Brexit that is good for the British people.

“It will be up to my successor to take this forward. To find the majority in Parliament that I was not able to find and to deliver the decision of the British people in 2016.”

Mr Johnson has said the UK must leave on 31 October “deal or no deal” but Mr Hunt called this a “fake deadline” that could trigger a general election if Parliament rejects a no-deal Brexit.

A no-deal exit would see the UK leave the customs union and single market overnight and start trading with the EU on World Trade Organization rules.

On Monday, Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood said “a dozen or so” Conservative MPs could support a vote of no confidence to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Mrs May said she believed it would be wrong for Conservatives to vote against the government on a confidence motion – defeat on such a vote could lead to a general election.

Mrs May told reporters: “I believe there should be a Conservative government in the UK because a Conservative government would be better for the people of the UK.”

‘Grossly irresponsible’

In an attempt to block a no-deal Brexit, Conservative Dominic Grieve and Labour’s Dame Margaret Beckett have tabled an amendment to an Estimates Day motion, which would stop funding going to certain government departments.

Estimates Days are when MPs debate and vote on the spending plans of government departments.

A spokesman for the prime minister said it would be “greatly irresponsible” to seek to stop a no-deal Brexit by blocking government spending.

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