Tories tell MEPs to consider election run if Brexit deal fails

Party’s leader in European parliament says it must be prepared to field candidates

The Conservative party has contacted all its MEPs to ask them to consider running for election in May if the prime minister’s Brexit deal is defeated on Tuesday.

Ashley Fox, the party’s leader in the European parliament, contacted MEPs to ask them to think about their options in the event that Theresa May’s deal fails again.

“May I ask you to reflect over the weekend whether you would wish to stand as a Conservative candidate. I will speak with you all individually after the MV3 [meaningful vote 3) next week,” he said in a WhatsApp message to MEPs after MPs voted overwhelmingly to delay Brexit on Thursday night.

He said he hoped May would get the deal approved but the party needed to be prepared to field candidates for the European elections, due to be held between 23 and 26 May.

“We need to be ready, if necessary, to take part in the European elections in May and Conservative MEPs are preparing to discuss the next steps,” he said.

The question of whether European elections would be necessary in the event of a Brexit delay is a hotly contested topic, with some saying Britain could simply ignore the elections and others that the UK could have a catch-up vote when the future was clearer.

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