Cross-party MPs plot to secure Brexit deal by Halloween deadline

There is time to secure a Brexit deal in Parliament with a "sizeable voice building across the House," a new cross-party group calling themselves "MPs for a deal" has claimed.

The group, which includes former Tory minister Rory Stewart and Labour's Stephen Kinnock, say striking a "pragmatic deal" for the UK to leave the EU is "not a unicorn" and could command a majority in Parliament.

At a press conference the group informed journalists of its plan to back a deal similar to what Theresa May almost put to MPs following cross-party negotiations.

The group claims around 50 Labour MPs would be prepared to vote for a deal, should one be brought before the House.

ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand, who was at the press conference said: "It sounds as if MPs are open to voting for whatever deal (if any) Boris Johnson brings back, but their starting point is the kind of soft Brexit Theresa May put forward in her final days."

Labour MP Caroline Flint told ITV News that "even though the deals before didn't get a majority", there were elements of each of those deals "that commanded a lot of support".

She said: "Most importantly now, is all of us in MPs for a deal seeking and supporting the government to get a deal."

Mr Kinnock said the plan was "not about reproducing a carbon copy" of the deal which failed in three meaningful votes, adding that what emerged from cross-party talks was a "compelling proposal".

He was joined by more than a dozen MPs including Ms Flint, Mr Stewart, independent Nick Boles and Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb at the launch of "MPs for a Deal" in Portcullis House.

Responding to the group, a Number 10 spokesperson said: "The areas where the PM wants to make progress are different to Theresa May”.

As Paul Brand says, that means Prime Minister Johnson is not returning to the final version of her deal which contained a major outreach programme to the opposition.

Mr Kinnock said the group believed it was possible to achieve a deal acceptable to Parliament by the Halloween Brexit deadline.

He said: "The fact is that we are rooted in reality here.

"This is not a unicorn.

"We have something here which is the basic foundation of a perfectly pragmatic deal that we believe can command a majority in Parliament and also begin to reunite our deeply divided country and even at this 11th hour we think there is time to do it."

Mr Kinnock said the group would back Mr Johnson in bringing a deal before Parliament by October 14.

Boris Johnson says he wants a deal but has not yet presented one to MPs. Credit: PA

He added: "We hope that by 14 October at the latest, if not before, this Prime Minister will be ready to bring a deal to Parliament, and MPs for a Deal wish him well in doing that and will be backing that and supporting that, because it is the only way to take the country forward."

Tory Victoria Prentis said there was "a spirit of compromise" among the group of MPs.

She said MPs felt a "slight irritation that extremes at both sides of this argument" had taken over the debate and said "it's about time the moderate voice was heard".

Mr Stewart, who was one of 21 Conservative rebels who had the whip withdrawn following last week's vote to block no-deal, said: "There is only one door out of this problem which is through a majority (for a deal) in Parliament."

The European Union (Withdrawal) (No 6) Act - which requires a delay to Brexit beyond October 31 unless a divorce deal is approved or Parliament agrees to leaving the EU without one by October 19 - received royal assent on Monday.