Brexit deal defeat could topple govt, warns May

Updated December 10, 2018

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The embattled leader’s message came with her government fearing a heavy defeat on Tuesday. — AFP/File
The embattled leader’s message came with her government fearing a heavy defeat on Tuesday. — AFP/File

LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May warned on Sunday that parliament’s rejection of her Brexit deal could leave Britain in the European Union and bring the opposition Labour Party to power.

The embattled leader’s message came with her government fearing a heavy defeat on Tuesday of the draft withdrawal agreement she signed with Brussels last month.

Media reports said May is under pressure from her cabinet to delay the vote and fly to Brussels to secure more concessions ahead of a planned summit with 27 fellow EU leaders on Thursday and Friday.

But Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told the BBC: “The vote is going ahead.” May said Britain “would truly be in uncharted waters” if the text agreed after nearly two years of tortuous negotiations is voted down less than four months before the March 29 Brexit date.

“It would mean grave uncertainty for the nation with a very real risk of no Brexit,” she told the Mail on Sunday.

“We have a leader of the opposition who thinks of nothing but attempting to bring about a general election... I believe Jeremy Corbyn getting his hands on power is a risk we cannot afford to take.”

May is facing her biggest crisis since coming to power a month after the nation voted by a 52-48 margin in June 2016 to leave the world’s largest single market after 46 years.

She is under attack from more strident Brexit backers in her party as well as europhiles who want either a second referendum or a pact that maintains stronger EU-UK ties than the one offered by May.

Her comments on Sunday are aimed at tamping down the hardline Conservative Party revolt led by the likes of her former foreign minister Boris Johnson.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018