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British PM Theresa May meets anti-Brexit MPs to curb rebellion

The anti-Brexit trio, who favour a second referendum on Britain's membership of the EU, had announced their resignation from the Conservative Party on Wednesday

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Theresa May
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May | Photo: Reuters

British on Thursday held a series of meetings with disgruntled anti-Brexiteer MPs from her who are believed to be on the brink of following three of their colleagues to split from the party.

Former and former justice were among those seen going in for talks in Downing Street, in what is seen as May's effort to counter allegations that she gave more time to the pro-wing of the party and curb the latest rebellion brewing within her ranks.

"I don't think I would be able to stay part of a party that was simply a party that had crashed us out of the European Union," said Greening, who said she had considered joining fellow Tory MPs Anna Soubry, and in quitting the party but had decided to stay for the moment.

The anti-trio, who favour a second referendum on Britain's membership of the EU, had announced their resignation from the on Wednesday.

They joined a newly-formed Independent Group, created by eight former Opposition MPs unhappy with their own party's Brexit and other policies.

The group now add up to 11 MPs, same as the (DUP) which provides the May government with a crucial number to make up her majority in the

Philip Lee, who quit as a justice over Brexit, had been named as a potential future defector to the

Lee's Right to Vote group said he had discussed the campaign's calls for a pause in the Brexit process and a possible second referendum during his meeting in Downing Street.

"Talks were open and we are encouraged she listened to our case," the group said.

Disgruntled former minister, Dominic Grieve, is another believed to be on the edge of resigning from the ruling party over fears of a no-deal crash-out of the EU if an agreement is not reached in time for the March 29 Brexit Day deadline.

"I would certainly cease to take the (party orders) if I thought the government was about to take us into a no deal Brexit," he said.

Meanwhile, the British PM held her latest round of talks in with on Wednesday.

In a joint statement released afterwards, the two leaders said they had held "constructive" talks on "which guarantees could be given with regard to the backstop that underline once again its temporary nature".

May has promised to give the some form of vote on Brexit by February 27 but is under heavy pressure from pro-EU ministers to put a revised deal before Parliament and rule out a no-deal Brexit.

The government is hoping that a so-called "meaningful vote" could happen by the end of February if talks with the EU go well. If not, MPs would be given a debate over what should happen in relation to Brexit and would vote on an amendable motion.

A majority of MPs are expected to use that opportunity to try to pass a plan that would force the government to hold a vote on extending Article 50 beyond the March 29 deadline if no deal is in place by mid-March.

"If we do not have a meaningful vote next week there will be another amendable motion tabled which will allow the to once again debate how it wants to go forward," confirmed UK

Britain's Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, and went back for a fresh round of talks with EU Brexit in on Thursday.

May is then set to travel to an EU-summit in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, on Sunday to hold further talks with EU leaders.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 21 2019. 21:50 IST