Scottish Secretary David Mundell is under growing pressure to publicly support a delay to Brexit after a trio of his cabinet colleagues issued a blunt warning they would back a Commons move to block a no-deal scenario.
Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Gauke indicated they are ready to defy Theresa May who has so far kept no-deal on the table.
The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford has now written to Mundell urging him to rule out no-deal – even if it means resigning from his role in the government.
Mundell, inset, said last week that he would do “everything I can” to avoid a no-deal outcome over the disastrous economic impact on Scotland.
Blackford has now called on Mundell to raise the stakes and warned: “Time is running out. The only way to prevent a bad deal for Scotland is to extend Article 50, and put the brakes on Brexit, to find a credible solution that protects jobs and the economy.
“David Mundell must finally back SNP calls to extend Article 50, and make it clear that he will not serve in a UK government that is willing to impose a no-deal Brexit on Scotland.”
The Prime Minister has repeatedly insisted that Britain will leave on 29 March as planned.
But the Work and Pensions Secretary, the Business Secretary and the Justice Secretary said in a newspaper article yesterday it was clear that a majority of MPs would support an extension to the Article 50 withdrawal process rather than see a no-deal departure.
They said leaving without an agreement in place with Brussels would weaken national security, “severely” damage the economy, and risk the break-up of the United Kingdom.
“If there is no breakthrough in the coming week, the balance of opinion in parliament is clear – that it would be better to seek to extend Article 50 and delay our date of departure rather than crash out of the European Union on March 29,” they said.
On Wednesday, the Commons is expected to consider an amendment by Labour MP Yvette Cooper and Conservative former minister Sir Oliver Letwin enabling the House to extend the Article 50 withdrawal process if there is no deal by mid March. A similar amendment was defeated last month, but there is speculation that enough Tory rebels, fearful of a no-deal Brexit, may now be prepared to back it.