May to risk all on Brexit vote
PRIME Minister Theresa May is under extreme pressure to delay a parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal, amid fears it may face such a crushing defeat it could bring the Tory Government down.
Mrs May is holding firm and insisting she will put her deal to the House of Commons early on Wednesday Perth time, saying the only options are her deal, a no-deal Brexit, or no Brexit at all.
The deal, which would hand almost $70 billion in on-going payments to the EU while also potentially tying the UK to the EU indefinitely through a cobbled-together customs back-stop, have failed to find favour with both Brexit supporters and those who wanted to stay in the EU.
There are also fears it would create tax differences between the UK and Northern Ireland, meaning the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up Mrs May’s minority government, is refusing to support it.
If the vote is defeated by more than 100 votes in the 650-seat House of Commons — a scenario that looks likely — MPs and aides fear Mrs May’s authority will be so damaged she will have to resign.
Tory whips are trying to win over sceptical MPs by warning them a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for the economy, but Labour claims Mrs May is bluffing and will not allow the country to crash out without a deal.
Leading Brexiteer Boris Johnson said Mrs May’s deal: “Hands the EU the indefinite power to bully and blackmail this country to get whatever it wants in the future negotiations. It is quite incredible that any government could agree to such terms. They resemble the kind of diktat that might be imposed on a nation that has suffered a military defeat.’’
Businesses exporting into Europe are being urged to act now to prepare for a no-deal exit, while pharmacists nationwide have drawn up plans to ration medicines, fearing supply shortages.