British Prime Minister Theresa May would be thwarted by at least 50 of her own MPs if she tried to carry out her threat to pursue a “no-deal” exit if the negotiations fail, The Independent has been told.

A “humble address” – the tactic employed successfully by Labour to force the government to release the notorious 58 Brexit economic assessments – would be used, it was suggested.

“There are at least 50 Conservative MPs who would be prepared to vote to stop it happening, which would be more than enough to force the government to take notice,” an ex-Cabinet minister vowed.

According to The Independent, the warning comes amid growing concern that May continues to insist that leaving without any agreement remains an option – despite her own civil servants warning of food and medicine shortages and huge tailbacks at the UK’s borders.

She faced down a dangerous Tory revolt aimed at securing a “meaningful vote” that would block no deal to enforce her mantra that “Parliament cannot tie the hands of government in negotiations”.

Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, piled on the pressure, insisting no deal remained on the table, telling Sky News: “We’ve got to be free in the negotiation to say if we don’t get the deal we want, there won’t be any agreement.”

Meanwhile, a letter from 60 politicians and business figures, including former chancellor Nigel Lawson, vocal Brexiteer John Redwood, and Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin, rammed home the same message.

It urged the government to accelerate plans to operate under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

In a separate report, The Financial Times noted that EU leaders last week called on member states and companies to step up contingency preparations for a no-deal Brexit after concerns that the UK had made “no substantial progress” on the Irish border.

The prospect of a no-deal scenario has sent shudders through the business world: Airbus, the aerospace giant, warned on Thursday that the company could quit the UK unless the government made the right decisions on Brexit.

  • Gayle Louise Stephen

    A no-deal brexit is the ONLY option for our country. We MUST abandon any & ALL hopes of a deal with the EU & solely concentrate on preparing for trade with the EU under WTO rules. EU leaders are beginning to realise this as well. The EU are NOT prepared to negotiate fairly & have instead made it clear that its either a trade deal on THEIR terms ONLY or NO deal. IT IS ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE THAT THERE IS A NO-DEAL BREXIT AT ANY & ALL COSTS OTHERWISE THE BRITISH PEOPLES’ VOTE WILL HAVE COUNTED FOR NOTHING.

    • ElRoberto

      WTO may not even exist next year. The US govt has been barring the appointment of judges to adjudicate on WTO rules, and by next autumn we are due to be down to just two judges. Three are required to make WTO work.

      Trump has made clear this week he is ready to jettison it.

      And it is rather arrogant to presume that no deal is what the British people voted for, and especially to claim that we voted for AT ANY AND ALL COSTS. That is absurd. If the politicians cannot sort it out, the people should be given the right to decide what type of Brexit we get (either join the EEA, or sign a customs union deal while leaving the Single Markett, or no trade deal with the EU). The MPs will surely not decide. The Hard Brexiters basically lost last year’s election. They do not have the numbers.