Theresa May could delay the “meaningful vote” on her Brexit deal for a second time if she looks likely to lose it, David Davis has said.
The former Brexit Secretary’s remarks came as the Prime Minister prepared to meet EU leaders and seek “clarifications” to help persuade MPs to back her proposals.
The vote on Mrs May’s deal, which was delayed at the last minute in December, is currently scheduled for the week beginning January 14.
But Mr Davis, in a column for the Daily Telegraph, speculated that it could be put off if Mrs May was likely to lose.
He said: “The Withdrawal Agreement does not respect the referendum result. That is why the meaningful vote had to be delayed and one wonders if even the January vote will go ahead.Click to expand
“Attempts to frighten MPs into supporting it are unlikely to work, because voting down this substandard deal will not result in no Brexit.”
Urging Mrs May to take her time to get a better deal, he added: “We know that the EU is worried about the loss of the £39 billion ‘divorce’ payment if there is no deal… so this is the moment to be hard-nosed about these issues.
© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Under pressure: Theresa May (Eddie Keogh/Reuters)
“The more we prepare to leave the EU without a deal, the more likely a good deal becomes.”
Mrs May is expected to speak this week to EU leaders including German chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and European Council president Donald Tusk in an attempt to break the Brexitlogjam, the Financial Times reported.
WHAT IS BREXIT?
It is an amalgamation of the words “Britain” and “exit.” The term is used to refer to any proceedings regarding the withdrawal of the U.K. from the European Union (EU). Twenty-eight European nations formed the EU after World War II to develop economic cooperation and, in turn, avoid conflicts in the future.
(Pictured) British Prime Minister Theresa May (R) and European Union Council President Donald Tusk during an EU leaders summit to finalize and formalize the Brexit agreement in Brussels, Belgium, on Nov. 25, 2018.
A Downing Street source said talks between Mrs May’s negotiators and their counterparts in Brussels have continued over the Christmas period.
Mr Davis insisted a deal will be reached “at the eleventh hour” because the EU is worried about losing the £39 billion “divorce payment” that would come with a Brexit deal.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, speaking in Singapore, said cancelling Brexit through a second EU referendum would have “devastating” social consequences, while a no-deal exit would cause economic disruption.
He predicted the Government would “find a way” of getting the 585-page withdrawal agreement approved by Parliament.