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Blocking Brexit could ‘open the door to political extremists in UK’

Blocking Brexit could put an end to the centuries of ‘moderate’ UK politics and ‘open the door’ to extremists, a Cabinet minister has warned.

Chris Grayling urged his Conservative colleagues to back Theresa May’s deal, saying that millions of people who voted to leave the EU would feel ‘cheated’ if Brexit was reversed.

Just days before the critical Commons vote, the Transport Secretary said: ‘People have to think long and hard about how they are going to vote.

‘This is too important for political game-playing and I urge Conservative MPs who back Brexit and others to back the deal.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said that if Brexit doesn’t happen it could open the door to political extremists (Picture: PA)

‘If not, we risk a break with the British tradition of moderate, mainstream politics that goes back to the Restoration in 1660.

‘MPs need to remember that Britain, its people and its traditions are the mother of Parliaments. We ignore that and the will of the people at our peril.’

He said there would be a ‘different tone’ in British politics if Britain failed to leave the EU, and predicted a ‘less tolerant society’ and a ‘more nationalistic nation’.

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‘It will open the door to extremist populist political forces in this country of the kind we see in other countries in Europe,’ Mr Grayling told the Daily Mail.

‘If MPs who represent seats that voted 70% to leave say “sorry guys, we’re still going to have freedom of movement”, they will turn against the political mainstream.’

It comes amid reports that some Cabinet ministers believe Mrs May has run out of time to get crucial exit legislation through Parliament before March 29 – even if she wins the critical vote next week.

Theresa May will be facing the crucial vote to her deal in the House of Commons next week (Picture: PA)

Meanwhile, two of the biggest donors to the Leave campaign said they thought Brexit would eventually be abandoned by the Government and that the UK would stay in the EU.

Billionaire businessman Peter Hargreaves, who pumped more than £3 million into the exit campaign,said: ‘I have totally given up. I am totally in despair, I don’t think Brexit will happen at all.’

Hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, who donated more than £870,000 to pro-Leave groups, said: ‘My view is that it ain’t going to happen. I just can’t see how it happens with that configuration of Parliament.’

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They both attributed a lack of direction from Brexiteers as one of the reasons for their pessimism.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd also highlighted Cabinet divisions and suggested it was wrong to criticise Commons Speaker John Bercow over his controversial decision to allow MPs a vote on an amendment to the timetable of the Brexit deal.

She told BBC Two’s Newsnight: ‘I’m less inclined to blame the speaker. I think that what we are seeing is the house asserting itself in the face of its concerns about no deal. I’m not really surprised about that.

‘A majority of MPs are likely to come forward and say they want to stop no deal. I understand that. The real difficulty…is there doesn’t seem to be a coalescence around an alternative. The only deal we have is the withdrawal agreement.’

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