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Dame Caroline Spelman leads campaign against no deal Brexit in Parliament

Rt Hon Caroline Spelman. (6365473)
Rt Hon Caroline Spelman. (6365473)

A former student at the Herts and Essex High School in Bishop’s Stortford is one of the high-profile politicians trying to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

Dame Caroline Spelman, who was born in the town, is behind a letter signed by more than 200 MPs urging Prime Minister Theresa May to give the reassurance.

The 60-year-old Conservative, who has been MP for Meriden in the West Midlands since 1997, organised the lobbying letter with Labour MP Jack Dromey.

In it, Remain supporter Dame Caroline says “leaving without a deal would cause unnecessary economic damage”, and she goes on to say that trading on WTO (World Trade Organisation) terms would “instantly make our manufacturers less competitive” and that “thousands of jobs will be put at risk”.

Dame Caroline, an Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary under David Cameron, said that the signatories to her letter included Brexit and Remain supporters – but it did not oblige them to support the Prime Minister’s Chequers withdrawal deal.

Parliament is expected to vote on that proposal on Tuesday. Last month’s Commons vote was called off by Mrs May in the face of defeat. In the meantime, the Prime Minister was set to meet Dame Caroline, Mr Dromey and the other signatories.

When asked by BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour programme if the Prime Minister “gets it”, Dame Caroline said: “Yes, I definitely think she gets it. She wouldn’t have invited us to come in and see her if she didn’t.”

She wants Mrs May to rule out a no deal and create a “platform” to “stabilise the economy and give reassurance to manufacturing”.

“We are united on one thing – we want to protect jobs and livelihoods by making sure we don’t crash out without a deal,” she said.

After leaving Herts and Essex High, Dame Caroline got a first in European studies from Queen Mary College, University of London.

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