Wednesday 21 August 2019

Theresa May has made progress on the backstop, Tory MP says

Grant Shapps (PA)
Grant Shapps (PA)
Jane Last

Jane Last

Theresa May has made ‘progress’ on the backstop and is expected to provide the House of Commons with an update later today, a leading Conservative MP has claimed on the BBC.

Former Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps told BBC programme ‘Politics Live’ that he has received two phone calls from Downing Street this morning and was told Mrs May had made ‘progress’ on the backstop

Mr Shapps made his claim when host Andrew Neil asked how he was going to vote.

“I’m going to go along and hear what she says during Prime Minister’s Questions, but also at five o’clock when she addresses the 1922.

“Because for me the absolutely key issue is not Theresa May but the deal itself and the backstop, which I was about to vote against the withdrawal agreement had it not been stopped, is for me the real issue.

"Because no MP should ever vote to hand power away from parliament in a way that it cannot be certain that it cannot be certain of ever getting back again.

“So if you can sort out the backstop, and I heard her say on the steps of Downing Street this morning, she had made significant - I think it was the word she used - progress on it and I’ve had calls with No 10 this morning telling me that she’s going to elaborate on that today.”

When asked by the host if he had any idea what that means, Mr Shapp replied: “No.”

When pressed if he had any idea why Mrs May would be saying that, Mr Shapps said he hadn’t but stressed he had calls from No 10 about the issue this morning.

He told the programme he was a Remainer, adding: “for me, the issue is I cannot vote for something where parliament can indefinitely lose the power to withdraw from it in the same way as we do when we sign up to an international treaty.

“So what she needs to say is we have found a way of somehow time limiting or providing a unilateral exit to this specific part of the agreement that she and everyone else says we never need to enter into anyway.

"It seems to me to not be beyond the whole whit of the EU to do that and all of the signs didn’t look very positive about yesterday.

“This morning No 10 were on the phone to me. Two separate phone calls assuring me she has got something interesting to say.”

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