The Asian Age - - World -

Lon­don, Dec. 8: UK’s work and pen­sions sec­re­tary, Am­ber Rudd, has hinted at an­other ref­er­en­dum or a Nor­way- plus deal ( based on Nor­way’s re­la­tion­ship with the EU, which is out­side the bloc and the cus­toms union but in­side the sin­gle mar­ket) if Theresa May fails to win next week’s Com­mons vote on her Brexit deal. She con­ceded “any­thing could hap­pen”.

She backed the PM’s deal, de­spite mount­ing op­po­si­tion from over 100 Con­ser­va­tive MPs who have vowed to vote against it. Ms Rudd cam­paigned to re­main dur­ing the EU ref­er­en­dum.

The Nor­way- plus op­tion would in­volve stay­ing in the Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area.

She re­jected sug­ges­tions the PM would be forced to stand down if she loses Tues­day’s vote while speak­ing to BBC Ra­dio 4’ s To­day pro­gramme af­ter an in­ter­view with the Times. She said her pre­ferred “plan B” would be to switch to the Nor­way­plus model. Ms Rudd was re­cently re­in­stated to the Cabi­net af­ter she re­signed as home sec­re­tary over the Win­drush scan­dal in April.

“The best deal we have is the one the PM’s put for­ward. Most of us are co­a­lesc­ing be­hind it in or­der to try and de­liver on the out­come of the ref­er­en­dum, the with­drawal agree­ment, the political dec­la­ra­tion. I think that is the best com­pro­mise,” she said.

— AP

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