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Tory MPs will ‘pull the pin’ on hand grenade if they feel Theresa May betrays Brexit

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UP TO 80 Conservative MPs are willing to “pull the pin” on a “hand grenade” if Theresa May wavers on a ‘hard’ Brexit, a professor has said.

Politics professor Tim Bale said Tory MPs would threaten the Prime Minister’s position if she softens her approach to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Speaking at a Brexit debate, hosted by the Institute for Government, Mr Bale added Mrs May was in a ”fantasy” world if she thought she could do a deal with the Labour party to push an alternative Brexit onto the table, which could include remaining a member of the customs union or single market.

Mr Bale, of Queen Mary University of London, said: “It’s very, very difficult to imagine up to 80 Conservative MPs being willing to do any kind of compromise on this.

“They are the sort of people who will threaten and possibly will actually pull the pin on the hand grenade if they feel she is letting them down or betraying them in any way.

“The idea that somehow she can avoid that problem by doing some sort of deal with the Labour party is a fantasy to be honest.

“I don’t think it’s in Labour’s interest to be seen to be doing a deal with the Conservatives, in the run up to what they assume will be an election reasonably soon.”

Meanwhile, Britain will lose the favourable terms of its European Union membership including the budget rebate and opt-outs on Schengen and the euro if it chooses to withdraw Article 50 and rejoin the club, the European parliament’s Brexit negotiator said on Wednesday.

Guy Verhofstadt told MEPs that the UK would “find an open door” if it decided to change its mind over Brexit, but warned that the decision to leave meant it had forfeited its special status in the bloc which has long enraged other members.

He made the remarks after the newly elected French president Emmanuel Macron told Theresa May that European capitals are still open to the possibility of Britain rejoining in light of her election defeat, which eurocrats see as a rejection of ‘hard’ Brexit.