May: Brexit must take place

British PM warns of catas­tro­phe if law­mak­ers don’t back deal

The Star Malaysia - - World -

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.—

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