The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By JA­COB REES-MOGG

THERESA May un­ques­tion­ably has many virtues. The Prime Minister is du­ti­ful, pa­tient and a good Chris­tian. How­ever, she has not suc­ceeded in the face of her great­est chal­lenge: achiev­ing a proper Brexit deal which hon­ours the 2016 ref­er­en­dum re­sult.

That is why – re­gard­less of whether she goes down to a crush­ing Com­mons de­feat this week or tries to pull the vote – she should stand down.

In­deed, the hu­mil­i­a­tion of avoid­ing a Com­mons vote is as much a rea­son for her de­par­ture as de­feat in an ac­tual vote.

It is her pol­icy which has failed and for which she is ac­count­able. And it would be much bet­ter if she left of her ac­cord rather than face a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion.

The Con­ser­va­tive Party – and the na­tion – needs a new leader.

On its own, though, the de­par­ture of Theresa May is not enough.

Time is now short and it may well be worth pay­ing for a stand­still agree­ment to al­low time to pre­pare for leav­ing on World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion terms or to ne­go­ti­ate a free trade deal.

Then a plan to ben­e­fit from Brexit is needed, as is the lead­er­ship ticket to progress and unite the coun­try and the party.

If, for ex­am­ple, lead­ing fig­ures from ei­ther side were pre­pared to come to­gether, such as Boris John­son and Am­ber Rudd, they could po­ten­tially de­liver the Brexit peo­ple voted for with a global, out­ward look­ing UK that could suc­ceed.

This may make it pos­si­ble to steer the coun­try away from the rocks to­wards which we are cur­rently headed and in­stead lead us into the high seas of pros­per­ity.

As for this doomed with­drawal deal, I re­gret to say it has turned the prom­ises of the Gov­ern­ment into fic­tion.

Even the Prime Minister her­self has promised one thing and then done an­other.

The Con­ser­va­tive man­i­festo said that the UK would leave the Cus­toms Union but the back­stop po­ten­tially leaves us there until king­dom come.

Mrs May said that no one in her high po­si­tion could en­vis­age sep­a­ra­tion be­tween con­stituent parts of the United King­dom.

How­ever, a whole pro­to­col from the deal would sep­a­rate North­ern Ire­land from Great Bri­tain.

The Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice’s role was to be lim­ited to cit­i­zens’ rights as we take back con­trol of our laws.

Ar­ti­cle 174 of the agree­ment states oth­er­wise, though.

Sim­i­larly noth­ing was to be agreed until ev­ery­thing was agreed – but now the UK is to spend £39 bil­lion with no guar­an­teed re­turn.

Brexit was sup­posed to mean Brexit, not a pass­port to Bri­tain be­com­ing a vas­sal state.

This is a great risk for the Con­ser­va­tive Party, which now re­ceives 70 per cent of its sup­port from Leave vot­ers.

In des­per­a­tion, friends of No 10 claim that op­pos­ing the deal may open the door a Jeremy Cor­byn­led gov­ern­ment. In fact, the re­v­erse is true. It is re­fus­ing to de­liver Brexit that would lay a car­pet of the deep­est red upon which Mr Cor­byn could walk into Down­ing Street.

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