Tory Minister: Those criticising towns fund should 'consider their position' as MPs

PM We may never leave EU if Brexit deal is rejected			
   by Metro Reporter 

A £1.6bn fund created to boost growth and give communities a greater say in their future after Brexit is set to launch, with the majority of the initial allocation going to the North.

Labour MP Alex Sobel, who favors a second referendum on Brexit, called the fund "a drop in the ocean" compared to money lost by leaving the EU.

Other senior Tories say that while May still faces an uphill struggle to win over numerous most hardline Tory opponents of her deal - and the 10 Ulster Unionists - many others who helped inflict the 230-vote defeat in January are now looking for ways to back down and support it.

"Communities across the country voted for Brexit as an expression of their desire to see change, that must be a change for the better, with more opportunity and greater control, " she said.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell suggested Labour frontbenchers would be expected to vote for an amendment calling for a referendum, when MPs vote on Mrs May's deal on or before 12 March.

Theresa May said: "For too long in our country prosperity has been unfairly spread".

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox is trying to negotiate new language around the contentious Irish backstop - which keeps the a customs union with the EU unless or until a future trade deal makes border checks unnecessary - to show how Britain could leave it if it chose.

"Many Tories who dislike May's deal are reluctantly coming round to the idea of voting for it", said Eurasia Group analyst Mujtaba Rahman, a former United Kingdom official. Lisa Nandy, a half-Indian Labour MP whose constituency of Wigan voted heavily to leave the European Union, pointed to the fact that the funds amounted to just £40 million for towns across the North West of England.

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Again 322 million pounds will grace Midlands towns such as Mansfield, Stoke-on-Trent, and Wolverhampton.

Another £600m will be available through a bidding process to communities in any part of the country.

Referring to the funds, Wigan MP Nandy said towns such as hers had been "shamefully ignored for decades" and hoped the new fund marks a new approach.

However, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire told BBC radio the money wasn't linked to support the withdrawal agreement and added, "This is funding is there regardless of the outcome".

"We're now at a particularly critical stage in these negotiations", a spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday.

A conservative Brexiter MPs also expressed surprise at the special funding plan for communities and said it would not get any pro-government vote.

Conservative MPs sounded negative on Tuesday about the prospect of May passing her deal, with one member of the government saying that No 10 appeared to be "in denial" about the parliamentary maths. "I am determined to deliver a proper Brexit, which means fixing the backstop".

British lawmakers' objections center on a provision to guarantee there are no customs posts or other barriers along the now invisible border between the UK's Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

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