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Leadsom tells PM 'more to be done' on Brexit deal

Sky News logo Sky News 17/11/2018 Greg Heffer, political reporter
Theresa May et al. posing for the camera: Ms Leadsom and Penny Mordaunt (left) are understood to be among those wanting changes © Getty Ms Leadsom and Penny Mordaunt (left) are understood to be among those wanting changes

Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, appeared to confirm to Sky News that she is among key Brexiteers within the cabinet putting pressure on the PM to rework parts of her agreement.

With her proposed deal continuing to be attacked by a significant number of Conservative MPs, the prime minister is also facing demands to think again from within her top team.

Mrs May will use a live interview with Sky News' Sophy Ridge tomorrow to push back against her critics and try to sell her draft deal to the public.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will also be appearing on the same programme from 9am on Sunday.

The publication of the proposed agreement this week prompted the resignation of Dominic Raab as Brexit secretary and Esther McVey as work and pensions secretary, with both stating they could not support the terms of the deal.

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There were no further cabinet resignations this week, but the remaining Brexiteers at the top of government - dubbed the "pizza club" after the takeaway meals they enjoy while meeting - are understood to have resolved to work together in an attempt to change Mrs May's deal.

As well as Ms Leadsom, who is said to be organising the group's gatherings to discuss tactics, their number also includes Environment Secretary Michael Gove, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

Ms Leadsom, who stood against Mrs May during the Tory leadership contest in 2016, pointed towards the plan on Saturday.

EU leaders are scheduled to gather in Brussels on 25 November to sign off on the draft Brexit deal, but Ms Leadsom insisted there is still an opportunity to continue to look at the terms of the agreement.

She told Sky News: "I'm absolutely determined to support the prime minister in getting the best possible deal for the UK as we leave the EU.

"There is still more to be done and we do still have more time before the EU Council at the end of the month.

"So, yes, I'm absolutely committed to getting the Brexit that 17.4million people voted for."

However, speaking in Dublin on Saturday, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar warned the cabinet group they would have little success in altering the terms of the draft Brexit deal.

"The same UK government, of which they are members, signed off on this agreement only this week," he said.

Mr Varadkar added: "I don't see much scope for renegotiation or changes to what's been agreed.

"There are lots of countries who have interests, lots of countries who have concerns and once you start to make amendments, others want amendments too.

"And you could find very quickly the whole thing unravels.This is an agreement that the negotiators came to last week.

"It's already been agreed to by the UK government - let's not forget that - the UK government made that decision at a cabinet meeting during the week.

"I anticipate the European Council will come to the same decision next Sunday."

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