Theresa May warns MPs Brus­sels ‘will not of­fer us’ bet­ter Brexit deal

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Uk And World News -

Theresa May has warned MPs un­happy with her Brexit deal that it is too late for the UK to go back to Brus­sels to re-ne­go­ti­ate the agree­ment.

The Prime Min­is­ter is fac­ing de­mands from MPs across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum to aban­don her plan and go back to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble.

Ear­lier, for­mer Brexit sec­re­tary Do­minic Raab, a com­mit­ted Leaver who quit last week over the With­drawal Agree­ment, said he be­lieves the terms are so bad the UK would be bet­ter off re­main­ing in the EU.

“I’m not go­ing to ad­vo­cate stay­ing in the EU,” he told the BBC Ra­dio 4 To­day pro­gramme. “But if you just pre­sented me terms, this deal or EU mem­ber­ship, be­cause we would ef­fec­tively be bound by the same rules but with­out the con­trol or voice over them, yes, I think this would be even worse than that.”

With more than 80 Con­ser­va­tive MPs – from both the Leave and Re­main sides – threat­en­ing to vote against the agree­ment, Mr Raab warned it is un­likely to get through the Com­mons and said min­is­ters should con­sider leav­ing with­out a deal.

“We will, I think, in­evitably see Par­lia­ment vote this deal down. And then I think some of those other al­ter­na­tives will need to come into play,” he said.

Mrs May, how­ever, warned re­jec­tion of her plan would lead to more “un­cer­tainty and di­vi­sion” and that the pub­lic now wants the Govern­ment and MPs to get on and de­liver Brexit.

“In Par­lia­ment there’s a lot of fo­cus on who’s go­ing to vote for the deal or not, and out­side I think peo­ple are think­ing ‘Ac­tu­ally, let’s make sure we can get this through and get on with de­liv­er­ing’,” she said.

“If this deal doesn’t go through we are back at square one. What we end up with is more un­cer­tainty and more di­vi­sion.”

De­spite the tur­moil, the Prime Min­is­ter again in­sisted that as far as she is con­cerned, Brexit will go ahead next year as planned.

“Per­son­ally there is no ques­tion of no Brexit be­cause the Govern­ment needs to de­liver on what peo­ple voted for in the ref­er­en­dum in 2016,” she said. “As far as I am con­cerned, the UK is leav­ing the Euro­pean Union on March 29 2019.”

The lat­est clash came as Mrs May was warned she faces a bat­tle to reach a fi­nal agree­ment on her deal at a spe­cial sum­mit of Euro­pean Union lead­ers on Sun­day.

Span­ish premier Pe­dro Sanchez de­manded last­minute changes to the deal to re­flect Spain’s con­tin­u­ing con­cerns over the sta­tus of Gi­bral­tar. Mrs May said she spoke to Mr Sanchez on Wed­nes­day night and is “con­fi­dent on Sun­day that we’ll be able to agree a deal that de­liv­ers for the whole UK fam­ily, in­clud­ing Gi­bral­tar”.

But in a late-night tweet on Thurs­day, Mr Sanchez said: “Af­ter my con­ver­sa­tion with Theresa May, our po­si­tions re­main far away. My Govern­ment will al­ways de­fend the in­ter­ests of Spain. If there are no changes, we will veto Brexit.”

Mr Sanchez can­not “veto Brexit” or the With­drawal Agree­ment, but a re­fusal to co­op­er­ate will sour the at­mos­phere at a sum­mit where lead­ers of the 27 re­main­ing EU mem­bers are aim­ing for con­sen­sus.

Marco Aguiri­ano, Spain’s state sec­re­tary for Euro­pean af­fairs, said Madrid needs “guar­an­tees we can go on with this model”.

But a Down­ing Street spokes­woman said: “The With­drawal Agree­ment isn’t be­ing re­opened.”

PIC­TURE: BBC NEWS

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May tak­ing calls on the BBC News Chan­nel and BBC Ra­dio 5 Live in a spe­cial pro­gramme pre­sented by Emma Bar­nett

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