Tory party chairman hints at another Brexit vote to thwart next month’s EU elections
Theresa May could try to bring her beleaguered Brexit deal before parliament in a last-ditch attempt to thwart next month's European elections.
Tory party chairman Brandon Lewis has said it is "still possible" for parliament to approve the Prime Minister's deal, which has been heavily defeated three times, to avoid the need for the contentious EU elections to take place.
Asked by the BBC why the Tories had not yet launched its EU election manifesto, Lewis replied: "Our first priority is to not have to fight the European elections. I think we should be looking to do everything we can to respect that 2016 referendum.
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"If and when we know we are definitely fighting the European elections then we will take some decisions."
Asked whether that meant the government would try to bring the deal through parliament next week, Lewis said it was a matter for the "business managers", but that there was still time for MPs to get behind the deal.
Next month's elections to the EU are promising to be testing for Tories who are lagging behind Nigel Farage's newly formed Brexit party.
The Tories have yet to formally start their EU election campaign and a number of Tory MPs and local associations have suggested they could boycott the campaign.
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Meanwhile, a row has erupted in the Labour party after it emerged that campaign leaflets did not contain a pledge to hold a second referendum, something the party agreed to hold at its last conference if it failed to secure a general election.
Yesterday an Opinium poll found the Brexit party and Labour neck-and-neck ahead of the EU elections, on 28 per cent of the vote, while the Tories trail behind on 14 per cent of the vote.