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Will MPs be allowed to vote with their consciences on alternatives to the PM’s Brexit plan and on delaying EU exit day?

Pro-EU Cabinet ministers, Business Secretary Greg Clark, Works and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and Justice Secretary David Gauke. Credit: PA

A point of significant tension at Monday morning’s cabinet will be over whether the PM is to allow her ministers and MPs to vote with their consciences on the indicative votes on Monday and Tuesday to find any Brexit or no-Brexit plan that a majority of MPs can support AND on the statutory instrument (SI) that will delay the March 29 date in law for exiting the EU.

Apparently the whips want a free vote on the SI, so ministers - including some of them - can vote against it and keep their jobs.

And more remainy ministers - led by Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke - want a free vote on the indicative votes, so they can signal their support for a softer Brexit or a referendum without losing their jobs.

Theresa May is facing yet another crunch week for her Brexit deal. Credit: AP
  • How will the PM jump?

Well the conspiracy theorists in her government say she’ll whip on indicative votes - to maximise her chance of being proved right, there is no way through the Brexit mess that is more popular than her own unpopular deal.

Because that would allow her to bring her own deal back to the Commons in that notorious third meaningful vote and present MPs with a stark choice between the supposedly orderly Brexit of her plan and the putative chaos of a no-deal Brexit on April 12.

And the ministerial chat is she’ll give a free vote on delaying EU exit day to placate her Brexiter MPs - even though the Brexit postponement is government policy.

Surely she won’t be so ruthlessly pragmatic.

Probably not - because were she to do so there would probably be mass resignations of remainy ministers.

Although given that she is under such pressure to quit herself, the resignations of some of her internal critics may no longer be such a concern to her.