May says UK's Brexit future lies in MPs' hands

Saul Bowman
December 2, 2018

The latest minister to quit British Prime Minister Theresa May's government because of Brexit says the prime minister's divorce deal with the bloc would leave Britain outnumbered and outmaneuvered in future negotiations.

He said: "A few days before the vote in the House of Commons, it is becoming more and more clear that this deal is the best possible - in fact, the only possible one".

Asked which of those two options was more likely if her deal does not pass, she said: "We haven't had the vote yet". Pressed by Laura Kuenssberg on whether she would attempt to hold another vote, Mrs May - who is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a G20 summit of world leaders - said: "I'm focused on the vote that is taking place on 11 December and I want everybody who's going to participate, all members of Parliament, to focus on what this vote does".

How these MPs decide to vote could be crucial in determining whether Mrs May can get the deal through Parliament - or the difference between a narrow defeat and a huge loss.

When the Japanese PM publicly calls on May for "support to avoid no deal" - as he did today here in Argentina - because of the damage trade friction at the border would do to important Japanese companies with big factories in the United Kingdom, it is very hard for the PM to plausibly argue that she would simply let chaotic events drive the United Kingdom to the cliff edge of an unnegotiated withdrawal from the EU. "It says we will be able to do those trade deals, and we will be able to do them with the U.S. and others".

Meanwhile Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said if there was a second referendum then remaining in the European Union would be one of the options.

He replied: "I don't see why it should".


He added: "I think that the reactions to some of the Treasury analysis have been completely overblown".

She does not wish to do that, because she fears it would make it far easier for her MPs to vote against her on December 11, because they would know their votes were conscience-salving protest votes, rather than deal-destroying and possibly government-wrecking extreme sabotage.

"It is important that we bring the country together and actually look to our future outside the European Union".

She said her TV debate with the Labour leader would not be about the same arguments as the 2016 referendum, during which there were multiple live debates from all factions.

"The alternative to the Prime Minister's deal is a no-deal scenario".

"There is an alternative to Theresa May's bad deal and no deal".

"I'm very happy to tell President Trump and others that we will have an independent trade policy, because we will have an independent trade policy, we will be able to do trade deals", she said. Many lawmakers hope that if the deal is rejected, Mrs May will go back to Brussels to seek further concessions, but the European Union has been clear there is very little appetite to reopen negotiations. "But then we didn't win 100% of the vote ... you can't always get everything that you want", he wrote.

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