May: Brexit must take place
British PM warns of catastrophe if lawmakers don’t back deal
So my message to Parliament this weekend is simple: it is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country. Theresa May
LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May has warned lawmakers that failure to back her plan to leave the European Union would be catastrophic for Britain, in a plea for support two days ahead of a vote in parliament that she is expected to lose.
Lawmakers are set to vote on May’s Brexit deal tomorrow, after she shelved plans for a vote in December when it became clear that not enough lawmakers from her own party or others would back the deal she agreed with Brussels.
May looks little closer to securing the support she needs, but writing in the Sunday Express she said lawmakers must not let down the people who voted for Brexit.
“Doing so would be a catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust in our democracy,” May said.
“So my message to Parliament this weekend is simple: it is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country.”
On Friday, her foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said Brexit might not happen at all if May’s deal was defeated.
Britain, the world’s fifth largest economy, is scheduled to quit the European Union on March 29.
The Sunday Times reported that rebel lawmakers were also planning to wrest control of the legislative agenda away from May next week with a view to suspending or delaying Brexit, citing a senior government source.
May also has launched an eleventh-hour plea to MPs to back her Brexit deal for the crunch vote, warning that a failure to deliver Brexit would be a bad decision.
The British prime minister insisted that Conservative MPs who did not back her agreement risked either no Brexit or a no-deal Brexit.
Separately Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, said there were worrying signs that Parliament would try to thwart Britain leaving the EU.
“The possibility of losing the prize we all fought for is now very real,” he wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.
“Parliament has to be for something. It is not good enough to simply say what it is against.”
According to some estimates the government could be on track for an epic defeat tomorrow, by as much as 200 votes when its withdrawal agreement with Brussels is put to a Commons vote.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the presi- dent of the European Commission, is set to make a final effort to save the deal by making promises to try to limit the controversial Irish backstop to no more than a year.
Juncker and May are set to co-ordinate an exchange of letters today to try to win over wavering Eurosceptic MPs.
May’s supporters also expressed alarm yesterday after it emerged that a cross-party group of MPs is seeking to change the Commons rules to enable backbench motions to take precedence over government business if May’s deal is defeated tomorrow.
That would overturn a precedent dating back to the 1880s.
In theory MPs could then compel the government to delay Article 50, meaning that Brexit would not take place as planned at the end of March.
If that does happen then the measure could even give MPs the power to try to force a second referendum.—