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Tory Remain rebels demand a second Brexit referendum

Dominic Grieve (file image), the former minister who rallied rebels to inflict a defeat on Brexit laws last year, warned there would be a ‘polite rebellion’ from pro-EU Tories

Tory Remain rebels demanded a second referendum on Brexit today as Theresa May faced revolt on both flanks of her party. 

Dominic Grieve, the former minister who rallied rebels to inflict a defeat on Brexit laws last year, warned there would be a ‘polite rebellion’ from pro-EU Tories.

He said today there were now a ‘significant’ number of Conservative MPs prepared to back a new referendum for the first time.

The Remain rebellion comes as Brexiteers prepare to use the Tory conference in Birmingham to step up their assault on Mrs May’s Chequers plan. 

Mrs May has insisted she will never allow a second referendum on Brexit and has vowed to defend her blueprint for quitting Europe. 

Mr Grieve said Labour’s decision to edge toward a new referendum had changed the equation and there could now be a Commons majority for a new poll. 

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he said: ‘I believe the time has come for a polite rebellion by pragmatic Conservatives.’

It was clear that ‘there is a significant group of Conservative MPs who think that a People’s Vote- a vote on the final form Brexit will take – is absolutely indispensable for the future wellbeing of our country’.

He added: ‘A no-deal Brexit is a proposal so damaging to our future that it cannot be accepted.

‘So the only possible response must be to return to the British electorate and ask them what they want.

‘That, it seems to me, is good pragmatic Conservative position.’

Theresa May (pictured today on the Marr show) has insisted she will never allow a second referendum on Brexit and has vowed to defend her blueprint for quitting Europe

Theresa May (pictured today on the Marr show) has insisted she will never allow a second referendum on Brexit and has vowed to defend her blueprint for quitting Europe

Mr Grieve warned that the crisis over Brexit was ‘paralysing government’ and damaging the Tories’ reputation.

‘It reduces our reputation for quiet effectiveness in delivering positive change for our country,’ he said. 

Amid the growing civil war at the tense conference in Birmingham, Mrs May insisted her Chequers plan is not dead as she lashed out at Boris Johnson for ‘playing politics’ with Brexit.

The Prime Minister said her blueprint was the only one ‘on the table’ that could guarantee a soft Irish border and smooth trade.

The defiant message came after Mr Johnson launched another vicious attack on her proposals – branding them ‘deranged’ and ‘preposterous’.

The defiant message came after Boris Johnson (pictured yesterday in Oxfordshire) launched another vicious attack on her proposals - branding them 'deranged' and 'preposterous'

The defiant message came after Boris Johnson (pictured yesterday in Oxfordshire) launched another vicious attack on her proposals – branding them ‘deranged’ and ‘preposterous’

In one bruising jibe, Mr Johnson pointed out that she was a Remainer during the referendum two years ago – and he urged the government to back ambitious projects like building a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland.

But Mrs May shot back that her critics were ‘playing politics’ and insisted she is ‘not bluffing’ about driving a hard bargain with the EU.

Speaking during an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show to kick off Tory conference, Mrs May said: ‘I do believe in Brexit.’

Earlier, David Davis – who resigned as Brexit Secretary the day before Mr Johnson quit – delivered a putdown to Mr Johnson when asked about his leadership potential.

Making clear he would back Mrs May in a confidence vote, he said some of the ex-London Mayor’s ideas were little more than ‘good headlines’.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk