Leading eurosceptic urges May to rally party behind Brexit deal

London - A leading Conservative eurosceptic and one of Prime Minister Theresa May's fiercest critics has urged her to rally the party behind a Brexit deal by pressing the European Union to accept changes

"In my unequivocal view the answer to this crisis still remains largely within the prime minister's own party," Jacob Rees-Mogg wrote in the Mail on Sunday, which said he wanted to play "peacebroker" in the bitterly divided party.
May suffered a crushing defeat in parliament last week, as more than 100 Conservatives voted against her Brexit deal, before she narrowly won a no-confidence vote put forward by Labour, the main opposition.
She is scheduled to present a plan for "next steps" on Brexit to parliament on Monday, after saying she would first seek "consensus" in talks with lawmakers from all parties.
Critics accuse her of merely trying to persuade individual lawmakers to back an amended version of her deal.
"As much as reaching out to europhile Labour MPs may look attractive, only winning over her Tory rebels will get Mrs May over the line," wrote Rees-Mogg, who chairs the influential European Research Group of some 80 eurosceptic lawmakers.
He urged May to focus on persuading more than 110 Conservatives and 10 members of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) who opposed her deal last week.
May should try to persuade the EU to show flexibility on the key issues of the Brexit financial settlement and a "backstop" protocol to guarantee an open Irish border, he said.

Sunday, January 20th 2019
(dpa) -

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