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I will back withdrawal agreement if DUP abstains, says Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees Mogg
Jacob Rees Mogg
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the influential European Research Group of Tory Brexiteers has said he will support the Prime Minister's withdrawal agreement - if the DUP abstains, Sky News has reported.

It comes after Theresa May indicated she would step down as Prime Minister if her deal passed in order for a new leader to take responsibility of the second phase of negotiations with the EU on the future trading agreement.

The MP has been an ardent opponent of the withdrawal agreement, however recently he has been signalling a possible change in direction.

And writing in the Daily Mail on Wednesday Mr Rees-Mogg apologised for changing his mind on the deal, saying those who negotiated it are guilty of a "failure of statesmanship".

In a BBC Radio 4 interview he said he would be guided by whatever the DUP does as they were the "guardians of the union". Boris Johnson has also reportedly indicated he will back the Prime Minister.

The DUP, however, has only said it will not support the deal unless there is change to the withdrawal agreement.

There was speculation the party would be making a statement on Wednesday evening.  However, the party has told the Belfast Telegraph there is no statement scheduled.

A source told the BBC the DUP's opposition to the deal remained the same.

"PMs come and go," the source told the BBC's Mark Devenport, "but the trade and constitutional issues involved in the deal and the backstop live on."

DUP sources told the Belfast Telegraph the party was still engaged in talks with the government.

However, it's thought without the DUP and even if the party did abstain, there would still not be enough support in the Commons for Theresa May to get her deal passed.

MPs are to take part in a series of indicative votes in the Commons on Wednesday to indicate what type of Brexit MPs prefer.

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