Brexit rebels give Theresa May a big slice of support as 'Pizza Cabinet' give her their support

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom sparked No10 alarm by hosting a secret gathering of eight pro-Brexit senior ministers in the Commons on Monday night ahead of an expected showdown with the PM yesterday.

But when the full Cabinet met, former leadership rival Ms Leadsom also told Mrs May, to cheers around the table: “I want to make it clear that I’m not resigning”.

Another from the clandestine group, Foreign Secretary Hunt, spoke out early during the meeting to also give the PM his fulsome support.

They group are known as the Pizza Cabinet because of the takeaway food they munch when they plot.

One Cabinet source said: “The pizza posse all looked a bit shamefaced around the table today. So much for the revolution”.

Mrs May opened the marathon three hour Cabinet meeting to thrash out the UK’s negotiating position for the final few weeks of talks with the EU with a plea for unity from them.

While warning that there will “no doubt be challenging moments ahead”, the PM told her top team: “I am convinced that if we as a government stand together and stand firm, we can achieve this”.

The meeting came ahead of what was supposed to be a “moment of truth” summit of EU leaders today to agree a Brexit deal.

But after two days of turmoil when talks stalled on Sunday, the PM held back from asking the Cabinet to take any fresh decisions, leaving several fuming with yet more fudge and delay.

One frustrated Cabinet minister told The Sun last night: “We’re the Cabinet – what on earth makes you think we decide stuff?

“Nobody in No10 wants us to make a decision at the moment, because we’re not at the abyss yet.

“We will be by next month though, and that will start focussing minds.”

No10 sources also last night played down hopes of any break through tonight when Mrs May addresses other EU leaders directly.

Instead, the Cabinet unified around the PM’s decision to halt any deal that committed Britain to a never-ending customs union as a backstop option to keep the Irish border open.

But there was a long debate on how to ensure the backstop customs union membership is temporary.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey joined Ms Leadsom in insisting on a hard date in any agreement.

Others, including ‘Pizza Cabinet’ members Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, and Mr Hunt insisted on seeing firm legal advice that whatever other mechanism that Mrs May agrees to to ensure it is temporary is fully binding.

In a move that rankled Brexiteers, Philip Hammond also warned the table that walking away without a deal would still see the UK having to pay the UK as much as £36bn.
The Chancellor said legal advice from Treasury officials showed that as little as £3bn would be saved from the divorce deal payment of £39bn as the EU would be able to recoup the vast majority of it through the courts.

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