Theresa May could lose a third vote on her Brexit plan even if the Democratic Unionists back it in the Commons, due to the number of Conservative rebels, a former DUP minister has predicted. Amid a final scramble by the prime minister to bring her informal coalition partners onboard before a probable vote this week, Jim Wells, who was the DUP’s minister for health in the Northern Ireland assembly, said he believed up to 30 Tories would still vote against the plan. “So even with the DUP support, I think it’s inevitable that Theresa May, if she pushes a third vote, will go to yet another defeat,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “The numbers just don’t stack up. While the DUP have an important role it’s not utterly crucial.” While Wells is still listed by the DUP as one of its assembly members, he lost the whip last year after criticising the party leadership. Several prominent Brexiters, including the former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey, have said they are willing to switch their vote and support the deal, with government sources saying they hope DUP backing could create “a sense of momentum”. But ministers insisted there would… Read full this story
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