Voting down Brexit deal risks cancelling Brexit - foreign secretary

  • Voting down Brexit deal risks cancelling Brexit - foreign secretary

Voting down Brexit deal risks cancelling Brexit - foreign secretary

Mr Hunt admitted the parliamentary arithmetic was "challenging", with more than 90 Conservative MPs vowing to vote against the deal before Christmas.

Yet should Corbyn fail to force an election, it will place the Labour leader under greater pressure from many of his own MPs, as well as party members and supporters, to throw his weight behind a second referendum as the way to break the Brexit impasse.

A senior Norway-supporting Labour MP said their option could gain the upper hand as it can command broader support among Tories.

His remarks came after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker urged MPs on Friday to support the draft Brexit agreement, adding that a no-deal scenario could spell "disaster" for the UK. Options include trying her deal again, a different deal, no deal, a second referendum and delaying Brexit.

But he remained optimistic about Prime Minister Theresa May getting her withdrawal agreement through parliament, touting two MPs who had changed their mind and will now support it. If it lost, it should campaign for one as the official opposition.

Roy Hattersley, the Labour grandee, says the British people should have a vote on Theresa May's deal.

He told Radio 4's Today programme: "The EU has agreed it's temporary, so if we can actually explain to people why it's temporary and if those assurances can be legally binding so that people really believe we won't be trapped in the customs union indefinitely then I do believe we can get this deal through". In the event of a defeat for May, they are poised to back a plan B which would prevent Britain from signing its own trade deals.

Tory hard Brexiteers are meanwhile expected to underline their opposition to May's deal by putting out an "alternative" written ministerial statement setting out plans for a looser free trade deal based on Canada and Japan's agreements with the EU.

With a critical week ahead, Tory rebels are already plotting a series of measures created to hand more power to parliament over Brexit.

Britain and the European Union reached a hard-won Brexit deal in November, but the agreement has run aground in Parliament. A vote to show there is a Commons majority in favour of delaying Brexit is also being plotted by a cross-party group of MPs.

Asked whether she agreed with Mr Hunt that the United Kingdom could thrive after a no-deal Brexit, Ms Rudd told Today: "This is a strong and great country, we will find a way to succeed but I do not think that no-deal would be good for this country and I'm committed to making sure we find an alternative".

But the poll of 2,263 people also found that Brits think it's unlikely Britain will be more harmonious, with 68% of respondents saying society will not be less divided by Brexit in 2019.