May vows to go ahead with crunch vote

Mail Today - - WORLDLY WISE -

THERESA May vowed to push ahead with the crunch vote on her Brexit deal de­spite Cab­i­net min­is­ters urg­ing her to de­lay it to avoid a cat­a­strophic de­feat.

The Prime Minister de­fied hard­en­ing op­po­si­tion from Tory rebels and the DUP to make an­other im­pas­sioned plea for MPs to get on board with her plan.

She warned there is no other op­tion on the ta­ble, and killing her pro­posal off would ei­ther end up with the UK crash­ing out of the EU - or Brexit not hap­pen­ing at all.

In an in­ter­view on Thurs­day, Mrs May said her fear was that “Par­lia­ment in some way frus­trates Brexit”.

The premier also con­firmed that she is look­ing at ways to sweeten her blue­print for muti­nous MPs - suggest­ing there could be a par­lia­men­tary “lock” on the Ir­ish border back­stop ar­range­ments com­ing into force.

Asked re­peat­edly about calls from se­nior min­is­ters to put off the Com­mons show­down on Tues­day, Mrs May said: “We are in the mid­dle of five days of de­bate in Par­lia­ment which will lead up to a vote on this is­sue.”

Cab­i­net rebels ask­ing to post­pone vote

Down­ing Street said Mrs May was dis­cussing with MPs a “greater role” for Par­lia­ment on the next steps as Bri­tain goes through tran­si­tion.

Pressed what her “Plan B” is for what hap­pens af­ter what looks like an in­evitable dis­as­ter, she said: “That ques­tion is for those who want to op­pose this deal.”

Mrs May made clear that the With­drawal Agree­ment she has thrashed out with Brus­sels is ef­fec­tively locked in - but in­sisted she is “lis­ten­ing” to con­cerns from MPs.

She con­firmed the gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing a range of mea­sures to make the Ir­ish “back­stop” more palat­able to her muti­nous back­benchers. Pro­pos­als in­clude plac­ing a par­lia­men­tary “lock” on the back­stop.

“The back­stop is not au­to­matic. I'm look­ing at the role of Par­lia­ment in that choice,” Mrs May said.

The al­ter­na­tive would be to ex­tend the tran­si­tion pe­riod be­yond De­cem­ber 2020 - but the With­drawal Agree­ment states that can only last un­til 2022. Af­ter that point the back­stop would come into force un­der the di­vorce terms.

Par­lia­ment will get to vote on whether to ex­tend tran­si­tion in June 2020 or to en­ter the back­stop - sub­ject to a fi­nal agree­ment with the EU - if trade talks are un­fin­ished.

Theresa May con­sid­er­ing con­ces­sions in­clud­ing Com­mons lock on Ir­ish border back­stop.

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