Theresa May’s threat to leave Europe without a deal is dead in the water, warned leading figures across the political spectrum today.
The powerless PM will have to review her entire approach to Brexit , under pressure from Labour, her Cabinet, Tory backbenchers and Northern Ireland’s 10 Democratic Unionist Party MPs.
Lacking a majority in the Commons without Arlene Foster’s DUP , Mrs May no longer has authority to push through her plan without broader consensus.
And a “frictionless border” with the South will be a priority when Mrs May meets Mrs Foster in London tomorrow.
Former Tory Chancellor George Osborne said: “The DUP need a deal, because they are absolutely committed to not having a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.
“Theresa May’s central claim – which is ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ –now becomes undeliverable, because the DUP will never allow no deal.”
Remain-supporting Labour grandee Peter Mandelson said: “Mrs May lost her majority. The plan lies in tatters.
“We have a new House of Commons that is not going to have an extreme Brexit forced down their throats.”
Brexit talks are due to begin in a matter of days and, as things stand, will still be led by Mrs May and her Brexit Secretary David Davis.
Even with the support of the DUP , Mrs May still has only the narrowest of majorities in the Commons.
That means it would take the support of almost every single one of her backbenchers to win a vote on a Brexit deal.
And the Tory Party is badly split between Hard Brexiteers and those wanting closer ties with the EU.
Ruth Davidson, leader of the Conservatives in Scotland – who kept Mrs May in power by winning 13 seats north of the border – said on Friday Britain needs a new approach, with cross-party support for an “open Brexit ”.
Chancellor Philip Hammond reportedly told the PM she needed to put “jobs first” in a new deal with Brussels.
And Tory grandee Lord Heseltine today warned massive splits are looming, telling the Marr Show: “ Brexit is the cancer gnawing at the heart of the Conservative Party.”
Remain-supporting Tory MP Anna Soubry made clear she and her allies will not support Mrs May’s plan to rip Britain out of the EU’s lucrative single market.
“I don’t think she has a majority in the House of Commons for leaving it,” Ms Soubry said. “But actually what’s more important, I don’t think people out here in the real world actually want the hard Brexit that had been put forward.”
With her backbenchers divided, Mrs May could ultimately need Labour’s support just to get Brexit through at all.
Speaking on the Marr Show, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was “absolutely” clear Brexit will happen – but warned Labour will demand wholesale changes to the PM’s reckless plan. He will block her Great Repeal Bill, which would use powers last used by Henry VIII to ram through a raft of new laws with no Parliamentary scrutiny.
“The Great Repeal Bill I suspect has probably now become history,” Mr Corbyn said.
“I suspect we’ll have something different coming in a couple of weeks time.”
Mr Corbyn said Labour will urge Mrs May to stop focusing so completely on immigration cuts, and make the economy her top priority instead in a “jobs-first Brexit”.
“We want tariff-free access to the European market,” he said.
“We also want to maintain very important university and research collaboration in Europe.
“And there’s a whole host of European agencies – security, environment – in which we obviously wish to be part of.
“And I’ll tell you this: we will absolutely remain part of the European Convention on Human Rights and European Court of Human Rights.
“We are not walking away from those vital post-war agreements we made.”
However Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Labour would not push to keep Britain in the single market, insisting people voted for a cleaner break from Europe last summer.
“I think people will interpret membership of the single market as not respecting that referendum,” he said.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry called on Mrs May to work cross-party with Labour to agree a Brexit plan which both sides can support.
“In good faith, of course we would go into it,” she said. “But we have a clear idea of what we want from Brexit and frankly the Tories are all over the place.”
Tory Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon welcomed the fact Labour do not seem to be calling for a new referendum.
He told Andrew Marr: “They I hope want a successful Brexit and agreement that works for us, the EU, that doesn’t jeopardise jobs and trade with Europe.”