THERESA May has today hinted she will QUIT as Prime Minister if MPs don’t back her Brexit deal next week.
She confirmed she will bring her defeated agreement back for a THIRD vote next week as she begged the EU for a three-month delay to Brexit.
In a sign that the PM is determined to get her deal pushed through this time, she said she’s not prepared to put off our EU exit beyond June 30 – and she could go if she’s made to by Parliament or Brussels.
And in a fiery rallying cry she blasted Brexiteers and Remainers for blocking her Brexit deal for weeks on end.
She told the House of Commons this lunchtime: “The outcome of a long extension would be endless hours and days of this house carrying on contemplating its navel on Europe.
“This house has indulged itself on Europe for too long. It’s time for this house to determine it will deliver on Brexit for the British people.
“That’s what they deserve. They deserve better than what this House has given them so far.”
The British people deserve better than what this House has given them so far
Mrs May continued, “As Prime Minister I am not prepared to delay Brexit beyond June 30” – in a huge hint she could resign if she had to extend beyond that.
Instead she suggested Britain will crash out of the EU without a deal if one isn’t approved by then.
The PM wrote in a letter to EU boss Donald Tusk today that Brexit will “clearly not be completed before March 29, 2019.”
But she confirmed she’ll bring a third vote on the deal back to the Commons “as soon as possible”, vowing to “make the argument for the orderly withdrawal and strong future partnership the UK economy, its citizens’ security and the continent’s future, demands”.
Mrs May concluded: “In our legal system, the Government will need to take a bill through both Houses of Parliament to enact our commitments under the withdrawal agreement into domestic law.
“While we will consult with the opposition in the usual way to plan the passage of the bill as quickly and smoothly as possible, the timetable for this is inevitably uncertain at this stage.
“I am therefore writing to inform the European Council that the UK is seeking an extension to the Article 50 period until June 30, 2019.”
She hopes to persuade the 27 EU leaders to sign off on the delay in a Brussels summit tomorrow.
Jean-Claude Juncker today told the PM Brussels won’t approve an extension beyond May 23, when elections will be held to the European Parliament.
And this afternoon Donald Tusk insisted that a short extension IS possible – but ONLY if MPs vote for the PM’s deal next week.
That would mean a choice in effect between her deal and risking crashing out at all, which will help No10’s aim to get it over the line.
But Remainers are still likely to say that a long extension would be better to rethink the whole process.
However, France’s President Macron might even veto an extension altogether, it was reported today.
Government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux, said: “France’s position is simple: the British prime minister must explain to us for how long and what for, and offer us guarantees.
“A delay is therefore not automatic nor certain.”
Brexiteer Peter Bone hit out at Mrs May during Prime Minister’s Questions, blasting: “If you continue to apply for an extension to Article 50 you will be betraying the British people. If you don’t, you will be honouring their instruction.
“Prime Minister, it is entirely down to you. History will judge you at this moment. Prime Minister, which is it to be?”
The PM hopes to dodge John Bercow’s attempted ban on a third vote, either by tweaking her deal so it counts as “substantially different” or by persuading MPs to overrule the Speaker’s verdict in a majority vote of the Commons.
The news comes as:
- As many as 10 of Mrs May’s most senior ministers told her during a Cabinet meeting that the Conservative Party would not accept a long delay, as it would inevitably lead to a softer Brexit
- She’s under pressure to address the weekly 1922 committee tonight and other MPs are raging she’s not sticking to her threat of a long delay
- The PM will meet with Opposition parties tonight to discuss Article 50 extension
- Brexiteers could now to try and ‘run down the clock’ for a No Deal within weeks
- Labour fears an election wipeout because of the party’s chaotic position on Brexit
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said earlier today: “You can’t keep kicking this ball further and further down the street, you have to pick it up and run with it.
“I don’t see how a long delay gives certainty.”
And Commons leader Andrea Leadsom told LBC: “The Prime Minister is extremely frustrated by the decision of Parliament to rule out leaving on March 29. She’s working her socks off to take us out of the EU.
“I am sure it will only be a short extension, but it will be for the EU27 to decide.”
And Tory Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith, who is still not backing the PM’s deal, told the BBC today there would be “real problems” if the PM delayed Brexit for too long.
“Our commitment has always been if we can’t reach a deal, we would leave on March 29 even without a deal.”
He can’t see the House of Commons voting for a long extension of years, he speculated, calling it a “long betrayal”.
But the decision was still up in the air as late as last night, The Sun revealed today.
One pro-Leave minister told The Sun: “Nobody knows what the f*** is going on, or even who in No10 is actually gripping it. Maybe nobody is.
“The whole thing is a national humiliation on a scale we have not seen in many, many decades – if ever before.”
Last week David Lidington said that ruling out a long delay would be “reckless”.
Labour’s Keir Starmer said this morning: “Theresa May is desperate once again to impose a binary choice between her deal and no deal despite Parliament clearly ruling out both of those options last week.”
Nobody knows what the f*** is going on
It comes after a stormy cabinet meeting yesterday when Mrs May’s top team clashed over the length of any Brexit delay.
Andrea Leadsom blasted Remain ministers who “don’t want to deliver Brexit” in the firey No10 showdown.
She said they would end up using a long delay to stop Britain ever quitting the bloc.
Others to speak out against a long delay were Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay and International Trade chief Liam Fox, who have both already signalled they may resign rather than vote for the her original plan.
Britain is officially set to leave the EU in nine days time on March 29, but MPs have demanded that the PM request an extension of Article 50 in the absence of any deal on the table.
All the other 27 EU states have to agree for it to get the green light, where they will discuss the impasse at a summit in the coming days.
Some Tories have been lobbying the Hungarian, Polish and Czech governments to block it, The Telegraph reports today.
Corbyn undermines May by lobbying Barnier on same day she begs EU for Brexit extension
JEREMY Corbyn is set to undermine Theresa May by lobbying the EU at the same time the PM begs for a Brexit delay.
The Labour boss will jet to Brussels tomorrow for a meeting with Michel Barnier.
The trip comes on the same day Mrs May attends a European Council summit where she will formally request an extension to the Article 50 process.
Mr Corbyn will attempt to persuade Mr Barnier, the EU’s top Brexit negotiator, to back his own stance on the UK.
Labour want to keep Britain in the European customs union and adopt some single market rules.
Mr Barnier signalled this week he wants to see the UK carry on in the customs union after Brexit – which would stop us from striking trade deals around the world.
But other EU leaders have blasted Labour for refusing to sign up to the PM’s deal.
Around 40 ERG members are still pushing for more changes to the deal, which the EU has refused to agree to.
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Earlier this week the PM’s plans to force through another vote on her deal were damaged by Remainer Speaker Bercow who insisted she can’t bring back the same deal to the Commons yet again.
He demanded she change it substantially or he won’t let MPs debate it.
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