AMBER RUDD is facing calls from five Cabinet colleagues for her to be sacked after she threatened to delay Brexit, according to reports.
The Work and Pensions Secretary, 55, is said to have been singled out as the ringleader of a cross-party campaign to stop Britain leaving the EU.
The unnamed ministers, who spoke to The Sunday Times, said they were furious with Rudd for her disloyalty to Theresa May after she was brought back into government last November.
Rudd previously resigned over the Windrush scandal in April.
They reportedly accuse Rudd, along with Greg Clark and David Gauke, of trying to undermine Britain’s negotiations with the EU.
The claims by the Cabinet ministers come after John Penrose, the Northern Ireland Secretary warned that delaying leaving the EU “could torpedo Brexit completely,” in an article for The Sunday Telegraph.
In a joint statement, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke yesterday issued a thinly veiled signal that they will side with backbench rebels next week to stop Britain tumbling out without a deal on March 29.
The Business Secretary, Work and Pensions Secretary and Justice Secretary made it clear they would defy No10 to vote to extend Article 50 exit talks.
That would see Britain stay in the EU for several more months under a deal can be struck.
The bombshell move – ahead of a ‘high noon’ showdown in the Commons next week – is a major challenge to the PM’s authority.
But allies of the three ministers insisted it is designed to help Mrs May in her titanic battle with Tory arch-Eurosceptic group, the ERG.
To stave off their rebellion, the three senior ministers also want the PM to promise to extend Article 50 herself.
The three Cabinet heavyweights said: “It is time that many of our Conservative party colleagues in the ERG recognise that Parliament will stop a disastrous no deal Brexit on March 29.
“If that happens, they will have no one to blame but themselves for delaying Brexit.”
Justice Secretary David Gauke also told The Sun: “We want to deliver a deal so that Britain can leave the EU on March 29.
“But time is running out, and those determined to vote against a deal that the PM wants to bring back are running the risk of a delay in Brexit.”
A bid for Parliament to seize control of Brexit and delay it was voted down four weeks ago by a majority of 23.
CRUNCH COMMONS VOTE
Just 12 Tory ministers or MPs need to switch sides for the attempt to hijack power from No10 to win when it is pushed to a vote again on Wednesday.
The vote on Wednesday next week poses the biggest crisis for Theresa May’s premiership since the disastrous general election result in 2017.
She will ask the Commons for permission to continue talks with Brussels for legally binding changes to the Irish backstop to ensure it is only temporary.
In their statement – delivered via an article for the Daily Mail – the threesome also warn a No Deal Brexit could threaten the United Kingdom itself, by giving the SNP a fresh opportunity to enforce a second referendum for Scottish independence.
TENSIONS SPIRAL IN PARLIAMENT
The Cabinet ministers added: “It does not take much of a leap of imagination to see how the Scots Nationalists would seek to seize the chance to break up Great Britain”.
The Sun understands that No10 was shown a copy of the article, but not given any opportunity to stop it.
If ERG hardliners do defeat the Government, then Ms Rudd, Mr Clarke and Mr Gauke want Mrs May to step in and promise to abide by an open vote in Parliament by mid-March for a Brexit delay.
A source close to the Cabinet ministers said: “They hope it won’t be necessary.
“But if it is, ministers will vote for the Cooper-Letwin amendment on Wednesday to give it a clear majority, and those ministers will include Greg, David and Amber.
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“The Prime Minister can stop them from having to do that by agreeing to extend Article 50 herself if the Commons asks for it.”
The source added: “At some point, she is going to have to take on the ERG, it’s that simple”.
But as tensions spiralled ahead of next week’s showdown, some Tory MP Brexiteers threatened to “end the government” if Mrs May requests an extension to Article 50.
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