May to warn of ‘division and uncertainty’ if MPs reject EU deal

British prime minister to argue deal delivers Brexit while protecting jobs and livelihoods

Following on from the special meeting of the European Council, UK Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement on the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.


Theresa May will warn MPs on Monday that rejecting her Brexit deal will open the door to “division and uncertainty” and risk reversing Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

The British prime minister will chair a cabinet meeting to discuss how to win support for the deal, which is opposed by more than 90 Conservative MPs, before making a statement in the House of Commons.

“There is a choice which MPs will have to make. We can back this deal, deliver on the vote of the referendum and move on to building a brighter future of opportunity and prosperity for all our people. Or this House can choose to reject this deal and go back to square one . . . It would open the door to more division and more uncertainty, with all the risks that will entail,” she will say.

‘Best deal possible’

After almost two years of negotiations on how to end Britain’s 45 years of EU membership, it took the remaining leaders just 38 minutes to sign off on the deal. European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said that, if Mrs May’s critics thought that by rejecting the deal they would get a better one, they would be disappointed.

“This is the best deal possible. I’m inviting those who have to ratify this deal in the House of Commons to take this into consideration. This is the best deal for the UK, the best deal for Europe, this is the only deal possible,” he said.

Mrs May’s statement in the House of Commons on Monday will mark the start of a two-week campaign to win support for the withdrawal agreement and political declaration on the future relationship between Britain and the EU. The prime minister will go over the heads of MPs to sell the deal to the public as delivering Brexit while protecting jobs and the economy.

“I believe, when it comes to it, MPs will be thinking about the need to deliver on the vote of the British people and about the impact of this deal on their constituents. And I think their constituents want to ensure that their jobs and livelihoods are protected and that’s what this deal does,” she said on Sunday.

‘Meaningful vote’

MPs must approve the deal in a “meaningful vote”, probably around December 10th, a few days before EU leaders meet again in Brussels. With almost half her own backbenchers opposed, along with the DUP, Labour and the other opposition parties, the prime minister faces an enormous challenge in persuading enough MPs to change their minds.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the alternative to the deal approved on Sunday was “no deal and a cliff-edge Brexit”, adding that Mrs May’s critics could not agree on any other single course of action.

“So really what’s being put before the European Parliament and the House of Commons is a deal – any other deal really only exists in people’s imaginations,” Mr Varadkar said.

“There are almost as many alternatives as there are MPs. Any one of us could in our own minds dream up a perfect deal that would be better for us . . . These are just ideas that people have,” he added.

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