May warns of no-Brexit catas­tro­phe

Cape Times - - WORLD -

BRITISH Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May has warned MPs that fail­ure to back her plan to leave the EU would be cat­a­strophic for Bri­tain, in a plea for sup­port two days ahead of a vote in par­lia­ment that she is ex­pected to lose.

MPs 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 MPs from her own party or oth­ers would back the deal she agreed to with Brus­sels.

May looks lit­tle closer to se­cur­ing the sup­port she needs, but writ­ing in the Sun­day Ex­press she said MPs 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 EU on March 29.

There were re­ports that rebel MPs were 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.

Mean­while, more than a dozen mil­i­tary plan­ners have been de­ployed by Bri­tain’s Min­istry of De­fence to key gov­ern­ment min­istries as the coun­try pre­pares for its exit from the EU, me­dia re­ported yes­ter­day.

Six mil­i­tary plan­ners have been sent to the Cab­i­net Of­fice, four to the Bor­der Force, three to the For­eign Of­fice and one to the Depart­ment of Trans­port, a Sun­day news­pa­per said.

In­sid­ers were re­port­edly say­ing that some de­part­ments had asked for as­sis­tance with plan­ning for a “no-deal” Brexit sce­nario.

If on March 29 Bri­tain leaves the EU with­out an agree­ment on trade and bor­ders, the bloc’s rules would cease to ap­ply in the coun­try, which would drop out of shared ar­range­ments such as com­mon air traf­fic rules or trade deals with third coun­tries.

Ear­lier in the week, DoT tri­alled a dis­used air­field as an emer­gency lorry park in a test for pos­si­ble bor­der chaos. Late in De­cem­ber, the depart­ment signed agree­ments worth £108 mil­lion (R1.9 bil­lion) for ad­di­tional ferry cross­ings for freight ship­ments.

The land bor­der be­tween North­ern Ire­land and the Repub­lic of Ire­land would also pose a ma­jor prob­lem in case of a “no-deal”. Ef­forts to keep that bor­der open have been at the heart of Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

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