PARLIAMENTARY insiders have downplayed speculation Penny Mordaunt may resign from her role in government over Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal.
Political pundits have tipped the Portsmouth North MP as one of the ‘most likely’ to quit the cabinet over the prime minister’s ‘soft’ Brexit proposal.
International development secretary Ms Mordaunt was one of the Vote Leave campaign’s most staunch supporters and a backer of a hard Brexit.
The PM is facing a showdown with Brexit-backing ministers as she seeks to persuade her cabinet to back a draft deal on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.
Moments ago Mrs May invited her top ministers into Number 10 to agree the deal.
It comes after Ms Mordaunt was last night summoned to Downing Street and this morning and it has been reported she pleaded for ministerial ‘collective responsibility’ to be suspended so she could vote against the deal.
The news prompted speculation that Ms Mordaunt was preparing to resign from her frontbench role.
However, sources in Whitehall have told The News not to expect ‘any fireworks’ or resignations by top ministers.
One insider, close to Ms Mordaunt, said: ‘Penny went in this morning to see the PM after having read papers last night,
‘Still waiting on certain information - people are absorbing the information and will be considering (what they do next).
‘Don’t expect any fireworks today.’
The draft document by the PM is understood to be 500 pages long.
Another Tory insider told The News any resignations would be more likely once the nitty-gritty and that the party did not expect any ‘significant’ movements today.
They said: ‘I don’t think there will be any significant changes in government.
‘A lot of people are going to be considering their next move and need to read the draft.
‘They would need to see the terms of the deal.
‘Until there is something in black and white that people can look and decide, I don’t think anyone will be resigning anytime soon. It would be madness.’
Last month Ms Mordaunt pointedly refused to back the Chequers proposals, saying only that she would not give a ‘running commentary’ on talks.