June 13, 2024, 7:52 am

A Malek

2019-01-15 00:08:26 BdST

May heads to Brexit-backing city to make last-ditch plea to rebel MPs

Prime Minister Theresa May will on Monday
repeat weekend warnings to MPs poised to reject her EU divorce deal that
failing to deliver Brexit would be “catastrophic” for British democracy.

On the eve of Tuesday’s monumental vote in parliament on her withdrawal
agreement — forged from 18 months of gruelling negotiations with European
leaders — May is set to address factory workers in Stoke, a Brexit-backing
city in central England.

The embattled leader, who is widely expected to lose the House of Commons
vote by a wide margin, will make a final bid for support by arguing: “We all
have a duty to implement the result of the referendum.

“I ask MPs to consider the consequences of their actions on the faith of
the British people in our democracy,” May is expected to say, according to
excerpts of her speech released by her office.

“What if we found ourselves in a situation where parliament tried to take
the UK out of the EU in opposition to a remain vote?” she will ask.

“People’s faith in the democratic process and their politicians would
suffer catastrophic harm.”

– ‘No confidence in the government’ –

Britain is set to leave the European Union on March 29 but, with less than
11 weeks left, has yet to finalise the terms of its departure.

May’s deal agrees a 21-month transition period under current terms while
the future relationship with the bloc is negotiated, but it has drawn
steadfast opposition from both Brexiteers and Remainers.

The prime minister has said rejecting it will throw Britain into “uncharted
territory” and put the country at risk of crashing out without an agreement,
or even no Brexit at all.

The opposition Labour Party, which favours remaining in a permanent customs
union with the EU, has suggested it will seek a no-confidence vote in the
government if MPs throw out the plan.

The Observer newspaper reported Sunday that its lawmakers have been told it
could be tabled “within hours” of that on Tuesday, with the confidence vote
to be held the following day.

If the government lose a no-confidence motion, there will be a period of 14
days in which parties can seek to find an alternative working majority in

If they fail to do so, a general election would be called.

“We will table a motion of no confidence in the government at a time of our
choosing, but it’s going to be soon, don’t worry about it,” Labour leader
Jeremy Corbyn told the BBC on Sunday.

Corbyn conceded if the party won power, parliament would likely need to
delay Brexit beyond March 29 so it could renegotiate the withdrawal

– ‘A very British coup’ –

The prime minister already postponed a House of Commons vote on her plan in
December to avoid defeat — and MPs look set to reject it again on Tuesday.

Lawmakers who believe it either leaves Britain too close or too distant
from the bloc, fired ominous warning shots this week, voting to force the
prime minister to quickly set out an alternative plan for Brexit if she loses
the vote.

It was her second setback in 24 hours after MPs also voted to deny the
government certain taxation powers in a no-deal scenario — in a bid to avoid
such an outcome.

The Sunday Times said a group of senior cross-party backbench rebels are
now plotting to change House of Commons rules to enable them to override
government business if the deal falls.

Described as “a very British coup”, the plan would see May lose control of
parliamentary business to MPs, threatening her ability to govern, the
newspaper said.

It said Downing Street was “extremely concerned” about the possibility,
which could see lawmakers then delay Brexit through new legislation.

Conservative MP Nick Boles, who favours a Norway-style relationship which
would keep Britain in the EU’s single market, told the paper he was exploring
tactics in the Commons to rule out a no-deal scenario.

“We have a mechanism which will give parliament control of the Brexit
negotiations and ensure we do not leave the EU without a deal on March 29,”
he said.

“I am working on ways to achieve that outcome,” Boles said, indicating he
would publish the plan on Tuesday.

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