Penny Mordaunt calls for nation to back prime minster Theresa May and slams '˜unhelpful' Tory rebels

INTERNATIONAL development secretary Penny Mordaunt has called on Britain to get behind Theresa May as the prime minister continues her Brexit plan sales pitch '“ while slamming those revolting against the PM.

Saturday, 1st December 2018, 6:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 3:36 am
International development secretary Penny Mordaunt has thrown her weight behind Theresa May and her Brexit bid while taking aim at 'unhelpful' Tory rebels. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The Portsmouth North MP said now was the time to rally behind the embattled PM, who is facing a rebellion within her own party over her proposed deal to cut ties with the EU.

And speaking exclusively to The News, the Eurosceptic Tory said she was confident Mrs May was trying her best to deliver a Brexit that would '˜work for the nation'.

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Ms Mordaunt's comments come amid claims at least 100 Tory MPs were seeking to vote against the prime minister's deal when it comes to parliament later this month.

Allying herself with the PM, Ms Mordaunt took aim at those in her party vying to destabilise Mrs May's premiership by backing a failed no-confidence vote, masterminded by Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg.

'˜That was not helpful,' she said. '˜What the public want to see is their members of parliament and their members of government working hard to get the best result for their communities and their country.

'˜Everything else that is a distraction to that  should cease.'

Ms Mordaunt is understood to have been part of a team of five cabinet minister who have been lobbying the PM for last-minute changes.

The Portsmouth North MP did not divulge what changes had been agreed but hinted an announcement was due Monday.

It has been a bumpy ride for the PM, who faced seven resignations from MPs, including Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and Brexit minister Suella Braverman '“ the MP for Fareham.

She is now touring the UK to drum up support for her plan.

Ms Mordaunt would not be drawn on whether the PM was the right person to lead the nation through Brexit.

But seeking to dispel speculation she was against Mrs May, she said: '˜She has got my support.We should be supporting her and we should all be working together to get the best result.'

She added: '˜We really know what we need to do. We need to deliver on the result of the referendum and we need to provide businesses and individuals with certainty going forward.

'˜We want to do that in the smoothest possible way. That's the whole point of the implementation period.

'˜I know people are worried about Brexit but people are working together really hard to get a really good outcome.'

The vote on Ms May's deal is on December 11. Britain leaves the EU on March 29.