Tory whip resigns ahead of crucial 'meaningful vote'

Government whip Gareth Johnson has quit the government to oppose Theresa May's Brexit deal, ahead of Tuesday's crucial 'meaningful vote'.

Mr Johnson, who backed Leave in the 2016 referendum, wrote in his resignation letter to May: "This agreement prevents us taking back control and instead could leave us perpetually constrained by the European Union."

He said it was now clear that "no significant change" would be made to the agreement, and he had therefore decided "to place my loyalty to my country above my loyalty to the Government".

"We need to rediscover our confidence and belief in our country's ability to stand tall in the world without the European Union overseeing and managing our future."

Theresa May

Mr Johnson is the latest of 13 Tory MPs who have resigned over Brexit, which could spell trouble for the May government this week. It has already been pegged to be one of the most important weeks in modern British politics.

On Tuesday night, the ‘meaningful vote’ will be held in the Commons, in which MPs will cast their crucial votes to determine the fate of May's Brexit deal - and her career.

Today, in a momentous speech, she implored her parliamentary colleagues to vote for her deal for the "country's sake" and to avoid “paralysis in Parliament”.

Delivered at a factory in Stoke-on-Trent, she stated: “There are some in Westminster who wish to delay or stop Brexit and would use every device available to them to do so.

“I ask them to consider the consequences of their actions on the faith of the British people and their democracy.”

She emphasised there were only two options following tomorrow’s vote: no-deal Brexit, which would wreak havoc on the country’s economy and cause “grave uncertainty”, or rejecting the referendum entirely, which would break: “people’s faith in the democratic process and their politicians would suffer catastrophic harm.”

"What if we found ourselves in a situation where Parliament tried to take the UK out of the EU in opposition to a remain vote?

"We've never had a referendum in the United Kingdom that we've not honoured the result of,” said the PM.

She also ruled out the possibility of extending article 50, arguing she wanted a "smooth and orderly" Brexit.

While she’s managed to convert some MPs to vote on her deal, it is expected she will be voted down. This could mean the end of her tumultuous tenure as Prime Minister.

On Good Morning Britain, former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey has called for MPs to vote against the Prime Minister's deal.

“This was the deal that everyone said was unacceptable only a few weeks ago,” she said.

"It remains a really bad deal you shouldn’t be voting for."

McVey also suggested “when” May’s deal is voted down, she should go back to the EU and renegotiate.

Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has also spoken out against May's deal, accusing her of "scaremongering" in her speech. He also said: “the fundamental way we can get changes in the withdrawal agreement is to vote down the current bad terms."

The vote will take place Tuesday night in the Commons at around 7pm.