Theresa May confirms Brexit bill will be published on Friday amid angry backlash

Theresa May has confirmed she will publish the text of her Brexit ‘new deal’ on Friday as she faced an angry backlash from her own MPs.

The Prime Minister urged MPs to read the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) before deciding to reject it.

But she faced a barrage of fury from Brexiteer backbenchers – and even scepticism MPs who previously backed her deal.

Earlier, she had faced a humiliating session of PMQs as several senior cabinet ministers failed to attend.

And it was reported that cabinet ministers were today discussing sending a delegation to meet with the Prime Minister, telling her to resign after "botching" her last chance to pass a Brexit deal.

While the PM confirmed the WAB will be published on Friday, she left open the option of delaying the vote beyond the suggested first week of June.

Tory former party leader Iain Duncan Smith asked the Prime Minister if she was "absolutely certain now" that she would bring the Bill back to the House for a second reading and, if so, could she name the date now and then say she will stick to it.

Mrs May replied: "The second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill will be brought to the House after the Whitsun recess."

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford asked why her speech on Tuesday was not made first in Parliament.

He said: "This deal is dead, stop the charade and let's get on with putting the decision back to the people once and for all."

He added: "The benches opposite concentrate on ways to mount a leadership coup and where are they, that's exactly what they're doing this afternoon because they are not here to support the Prime Minister. This is no way to run a Government.

"The Prime Minister is asking MPs to vote for a deal that takes Scotland out of the single market and eventually out of the customs union, this simply cannot be allowed to happen.

"This is a rookie Government attempting to blackmail MPs."

Conservative former minister Nicky Morgan said she will "probably vote for" the Bill but advised Mrs May against putting it before MPs in early June, and instead seek further compromise.

The chairwoman of the Treasury Select Committee said: "Please can I ask the Prime Minister to reflect very carefully on whether it should be put to Parliament, because the consequences of it not being passed are very serious.

"If she really wants to heal the divisions and to get on with it, I'd ask her to reflect very seriously on this Bill not being put to Parliament in early June and being allowed more compromise, more time taken."

Mrs May replied: "She is right that if the Bill is not passed then this House will be faced with a very stark choice, and that choice will be whether they go for no deal or whether they go for something which is either revoking Article 50 or a second referendum with the intention that many have to stop Brexit."

The PM added: "There are people who are telling me I compromised too much in the package that's been put forward and others telling me I have not compromised enough … at some stage the House has to come together and we have to decide the distance will we go together in order to deliver Brexit."

Former Brexit minister David Jones said: "Introduction of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would be … a futile, Quixotic exercise.

"We simply haven't the time to waste. Bin it."

A No 10 spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "Our commitment to have the second reading of that Bill in that week remains."

The Bill will be published on Friday, the spokesman said.

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