News, Culture & Society

Theresa May admits her battle for her Brexit deal is ‘tough’

Theresa May clashed brutally with Phillip Schofield today as he jibed that her Brexit deal is a ‘disaster’.

During a tense grilling on ITV’s This Morning, the Prime Minister admitted she was having a ‘tough time’ and finding it ‘difficult’ to get the package she has thrashed out with Brussels past the Commons.

But despite a wall of opposition from Tory rebels, Labour and the DUP, she insisted the government will ‘hold our nerve’ and press on with doing the best thing for the UK.  

Mrs May could not hide her irritation at times as she was asked by presenters Phillip and Rochelle Humes whether she will quit if she loses next week.

‘It”s a tough time. It is a difficult time,’ she said.

Mrs May was asked stingingly if she will still ‘have a job in two weeks’ time’ – and at one point demanded that Philip let her ‘finish a sentence’.

But she used the platform to appeal once again for MPs to recognise the benefits she had secured in negotiations.

‘What I’ve got is a deal that delivers,’ she said. 

Mrs May dodged around when asked if she will quit if she loses the vote next week

In an interview on ITV’s This Morning, Theresa May said: ‘What I’ve got is a deal that delivers.’

In at times tetchy exchanges with Mrs May during the interview, Phillip Schofield said: ¿It looks like the end is a disaster.¿

In at times tetchy exchanges with Mrs May during the interview, Phillip Schofield said: ‘It looks like the end is a disaster.’

In niggly exchanges, Philip said: ‘It looks like the end is a disaster.’

But the premier replied: ‘No, the end is a deal – a good deal.’

She said the UK must ‘hold our nerve in getting this over the line so we can deliver on Brexit and people can that better future.’ 

Philip also demanded to know, ‘What have you won that we didn’t have before?’

Mrs May insisted: ‘What I’ve got is… we end free movement – we control who comes in to our country.

‘We end sending vast sums of money to the EU.

‘We will end the jurisdiction of the European Courts – we will make our own laws.’

Later she added: ‘It is an important moment in our history. This is not, ‘oh well it’s any old vote’. 

‘This is about delivering what people voted for when they voted to leave the EU and I think that’s important for politicians t remember.’  

Mrs May dodged questions about whether she will resign if she loses the crunch vote on December 11 – saying she was ‘focused’ on winning it.

At one point the frustrated premier urged Philip to let her ‘finish a sentence’ as he harried her with barbs including: ‘Will you still have a job in two weeks’ time?’ 

She shot back: ‘I will still have a job in two weeks time. My job is making sure we do what the public asked us for.’ 

Asked how she personally was coping the her relentless workload and pressure, Mrs May said: ‘It is tough, in any job there are times its really tough and you have to work through it. In politics it’s the same.’

Government’s own legal advice admits the UK CAN’T escape Irish border backstop unless EU acts in ‘bad faith’  

The UK can only escape the Irish border ‘backstop’ if there is ‘clear’ proof the EU is acting in bad faith, a government legal assessment of the Brexit deal revealed today.

The summary states that the deal ‘does not contain any provision on its termination’ – fuelling fears that the UK will be stuck in Brussels’ orbit for good.

It also confirms that there is no way of ‘unilaterally’ leaving the controversial arrangement to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. The only way to break the tie is to convince a tribunal there is ‘clear evidence’ that the EU is deliberately avoiding finalising a trade agreement.

But many MPs believe the government is holding back even more damaging material in the full written advice from the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.    

The eminent QC and strident Brexiteer was a key figure in forcing Theresa May’s deal through the Cabinet – but there are claims his private legal guidance warned the UK could be stuck ‘indefinitely’ in the Irish border backstop.

Despite the DUP, Tory rebels and Labour joining forces to pass a Commons motion demanding the full legal advice last month, ministers have only issued the summary. They insist releasing the full material would break convention and undermine the operation of government.

Boris Johnson today joined condemnation of the refusal from Labour and the DUP, saying it was a ‘scandal’ and pointing out that Mrs May previously called for advice on the Iraq War to be released. 

If the government does not change course, Speaker John Bercow could launch contempt proceedings – triggering a formal investigation in the PM or her most senior colleagues. The potential punishments include suspension or expulsion from the House, although they have not been deployed for decades. 

She said her husband was a ‘huge support’ and was telling her to keep doing what it ‘right for the country’.

‘Philip is a huge support to me he says I must do what I believe is right,’ she said. 

‘I believe what is right for this country….is let’s get this deal done.’

Mrs May said she hoped MPs would ‘put the national interest first’ and said members of the public were backing her.

‘What people think about this is important. Yesterday in my constituency, in Twyford, I was switching on the Christmas lights,’ she said.

‘A woman said to me ‘when you say you want to get this done you are speaking for me’.

‘That’s important. For us as MPs it’s not just about what we think, it’s about what you’re doing for people.’ 

The premier also insisted she still wants a TV debate against Jeremy Corbyn – despite talks seemingly having hit an impasse.

Mrs May has signed up to a BBC programme on Sunday – but the Labour leader favours an ITV show the same evening.  

The PM said she hoped the face-off would still go ahead, and joked that she was worried the ITV option would stop her watching Strictly Come Dancing. 

After the interview, the PM’s spokesman was asked repeatedly why she did not rule out a second referendum.

The spokesman said: ‘I don’t believe she could have been any clearer on any number of occasions and she does not support a second referendum.’

He added: ‘I think she already has done. There is not going to be a second referendum.’

The appearance comes as Mrs May faces the threat of being held in contempt of Parliament.

She is resisting huge pressure to disclose the private opinion Attorney General Geoffrey Cox gave on the package she has thrashed out with Brussels.

The eminent QC and strident Brexiteer was a key figure in forcing the deal through the Cabinet – but there are claims his formal written advice was far bleaker and he warned the UK would be stuck ‘indefinitely’ in the Irish border backstop.

Despite a Commons motion being passed demanding the full document, ministers are insisting they will only release a summary as the full material would break convention and undermine the operation of government.

Boris Johnson today joined condemnation of the refusal, saying it was a ‘scandal’ and pointing out that Mrs May previously called for advice on the Iraq War to be released.  

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox

Boris Johnson has joined condemnation of the refusal, saying it was a 'scandal' and pointing out that Mrs May previously called for advice on the Iraq War to be released

Boris Johnson (right) has joined demands for the full legal advice from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox (left) to be published

If the government does not cave in by the time Mr Cox makes a statement to the Commons this evening, Speaker John Bercow could launch contempt proceedings – triggering a formal investigation in the PM or her most senior colleagues.

The potential punishments include suspension or expulsion from the House, although they have not been deployed for decades.   

The wrangling comes as the bitter row over Mrs May’s Brexit plan reaches the endgame, with just over a week until the crunch Commons vote.

Oil tycoon says Theresa May’s Brexit deal is ‘workable’ 

Leading businessman Sir Ian Wood has said Theresa May’s Brexit deal is ‘workable’ and is better than the current situation with Europe.

He said that the UK cannot afford to leave without a deal and that the plan now needs to ‘move ahead.’

The businessman said that Brexit could also bring benefits to Scottish fishing.

Sir Ian, who made his name developing the Wood Group into a global oilfield services company, said that dealing with Brexit had been an ‘extraordinarily difficult task.’

He told BBC Good Morning Scotland: ‘There is not a solution which anyone, or I suspect even more than 50% of people, would really say ‘that’s a really good solution’.

‘There are two extremes and all kinds of ranges in between.

‘I frankly think we do need to move ahead. We cannot afford to have no outcome.

‘It would be bad for Europe and it would be bad for the UK and it would take a long time to work our way through that and frankly I think the proposal that’s on the table, I think it is workable, I think it is better than we have, we’re out of Common Market membership but we’re retaining some of the advantages so I think it’s better than we have, and I think it’s a workable proposal.’

As tensions rise, the DUP has said it ready to sign a joint letter with Labour complaining that ministers are in contempt of parliament – after a Commons motion called for the details to be issued.

The party’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said: ‘If the Government attempt to ignore the will of the House of Commons and refuse to publish the full legal advice on the Irish backstop, the DUP will work with colleagues from right across the House to ensure they start to listen.’ 

In his Telegraph column, Mr Johnson also waded into the row, saying: ‘It is a scandal that this is currently being withheld.

‘You will recall that, when she was in opposition, the present Prime Minister wrote to the Labour government and complained of their failure to publish the Attorney General’s advice on the Iraq war. 

‘She was right then – and how much more wrong and absurd is her position now, when you consider that this legal question is more important even than the Iraq war.’  

It represents another massive hurdle for Mrs May to overcome as stares down the barrel of almost certain defeat on December 11.

A heavy loss could bring Mrs May’s time in Downing Street to a chaotic halt – although allies hope going down by a small margin could allow her to try again.

Meanwhile, demands for a second referendum are mounting after the dramatic resignation of universities minister Sam Gyimah over the weekend.

Senior Labour figures including shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Tom Watson are thought to be ramping up pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to back a fresh national ballot. 

Environment Secretary Michael Gove admitted yesterday that a referendum was a potential outcome if Mrs May loses, but said it would ‘rip the social fabric of the country’. He also insisted Leave would win by a bigger margin than in 2016.

Could vote on Brexit deal be delayed to save May’s skin?  

As pressure grows on the PM, there are claims next week’s Brexit vote could be shelved.

Some Tory whips think a delay could help Theresa May to go back to the EU to renegotiate her deal to avoid a defeat in the Commons.

Under the plan, if the situation was still looking dire at the end of this week the Government would abandon the vote.

Mrs May could then attempt to reopen talks at a summit in Brussels. 

However, Sajid Javid – who was said to be one of the minister who back the idea – dismissed it today.

And Downing Street insisted the vote will go ahead as planned.  

MPs across Parliament have angrily accused ministers of ignoring the will of the House after they said only that they would release a ‘full reasoned political statement’ on the legal position.

It follows a binding Commons vote last month requiring the Government to lay before Parliament ‘any legal advice in full’ – including that given by the Attorney General – relating to the Withdrawal Agreement.

Ministers chose not to oppose the motion – tabled by Labour under an arcane procedure known as the humble address – as they feared a damaging Commons defeat. 

As pressure grows on the PM, there are claims next week’s Brexit vote could be shelved.

The crucial vote could be postponed as Tory whips urge Theresa May to go back to EU to renegotiate her deal to avoid a defeat in the Commons.

If true, the Government would abandon the vote at the end of this week.

However, Sajid Javid – who was said to be one of the minister who back the idea – dismissed it today.

And Downing Street insisted the vote will go ahead as planned. 

May jokes Corbyn’s Brexit TV debate plan would mean she misses STRICTLY   

Theresa May joked Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit TV debate plan would mean she misses Strictly Come Dancing – just days after the Labour called for the showdown to be early enough he could watch the I’m a Celebrity final.

The PM’s jibe at Mr Corbyn today after Downing Street accused the Labour leader of ‘running scared’ of a head to head clash.

Both leaders have backed a debate on Sunday night – two days before the crunch vote on Mrs May’s Brexit deal in the Commons – but failed to agree on format.

Theresa May (pictured today on This Morning) joked Jeremy Corbyn's Brexit TV debate plan would mean she misses Strictly Come Dancing - just days after the Labour called for the showdown to be early enough he could watch the I'm a Celebrity final

Theresa May (pictured today on This Morning) joked Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit TV debate plan would mean she misses Strictly Come Dancing – just days after the Labour called for the showdown to be early enough he could watch the I’m a Celebrity final

The BBC is planning to screen a Brexit showdown between Theresa May and Mr Corbyn (pictured last week on This Morning) on Sunday - two days before the crucial Commons vote on December 11

The BBC is planning to screen a Brexit showdown between Theresa May and Mr Corbyn (pictured last week on This Morning) on Sunday – two days before the crucial Commons vote on December 11

Mrs May wants the debate on BBC One and has accepted the broadcaster’s idea of a head-to-head debate alongside questions from a panel.

Mr Corbyn had backed an ITV plan of a simple one-on-one contest. He has accepted this could be on the BBC but wants the simpler format.

There are growing doubts as to whether the debate would take place at all amid continued wrangling over the format. 

Mrs May told This Morning she was ‘keen’ to take part in a debate.

She said: ‘There are discussions about where exactly it is going to be.

‘There are variations on this. I think he said he wanted to be on ITV so he could watch the final of I’m a Celebrity.

‘I think his proposed time means I would miss Strictly – I hate to say it on ITV but I’m a bit of a Strictly fan.’ 

‘Leave won!’ Susanna Reid and Piers Morgan grill Tony Blair on Brexit referendum call 

Tony Blair faced a fiery grilling today as he was challenged over why he is calling for another Brexit referendum just two years after the historic vote.

The ex-PM is stepping up his campaign for a so-called People’s Vote and lashed Theresa May’s deal for ‘yielding’ too much to Brussels. 

Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he said another referendum should be held which gives Britons a choice between staying in the EU or having a Boris Johnson-style hard Brexit.

But presenters Susanna Reid and Piers Morgan quizzed him over why Remain should even be on the ballot two years after the side lost.

Tony Blair (pictured on GMB today) stepped up his campaign for a second Brexit referendum - and said Theresa May's deal should not be an option on another ballot

Tony Blair (pictured on GMB today) stepped up his campaign for a second Brexit referendum – and said Theresa May’s deal should not be an option on another ballot

In a heated exchange with the ex Labour leader, Susanna said: ‘Why should Remain even be an option on the second referendum? Why isn’t it a choice between May’s deal and an alternative Brexit?

‘Because the whole Remain camp didn’t win that campaign. Why should we re-run that part of the referendum? Why would Brexiteers – people who voted to leave , not feel utterly infuriated that is being re-run?’ 

Mr Blair hit back, saying: ‘I think if you had a referendum and you excluded the possibility of remaining I think your 16-odd million people who voted Remain would feel a great sense of disillusion if they weren’t able to make their case again.’

Piers also chimed in asking: ‘Isn’t that what happens when you lose?’ 

The ex Labour leader went on: ‘When you lose but the other side are as divided as to what form of Brexit is correct or not the only sensible way is to put it back to people and say, you have had your 30 months of experience, do you want to stay?’

He said there his also a ‘good chance’ Brussels would give the UK more concessions to the UK.  

Is May’s deal already sunk? 100 Tories, the DUP and Labour have come out against – leaving her staring at defeat on December 11

Theresa May’s task of getting her Brexit deal past the House of Commons is looking near-impossible as opposition mounts.

The ‘meaningful vote’ promised to MPs will happen on December 11 and is the single biggest hurdle to the Brexit deal happening – as well as being the key to Mrs May’ fate as PM.

But despite opinion polls suggesting the public might be coming round to her deal, there is little sign of a shift among politicians.

Remainers have been stepping up calls for a second referendum in the wake of Sam Gyimah’s resignation as universities minister over the weekend – while Brexiteers including Boris Johnson have accused Mrs May of betrayal.   

Mrs May needs at least 318 votes in the Commons if all 650 MPs turns up – but can probably only be confident of around 230 votes.

The number is less than half because the four Speakers, 7 Sinn Fein MPs and four tellers will not take part.

The situation looks grim for Mrs May and her whips: now the deal has been published, over 100 of her own MPs and the 10 DUP MPs have publicly stated they will join the Opposition parties in voting No.

This means the PM could have as few as 225 votes in her corner – leaving 410 votes on the other side, a landslide majority 185.

This is how the House of Commons might break down:

Mrs May needs at least 318 votes in the Commons if all 650 MPs turns up – but can probably only be confident of around 230 votes.

Mrs May needs at least 318 votes in the Commons if all 650 MPs turns up – but can probably only be confident of around 230 votes.

The Government (plus various hangers-on)

Who are they: All members of the Government are the so-called ‘payroll’ vote and are obliged to follow the whips orders or resign. It includes the Cabinet, all junior ministers, the whips and unpaid parliamentary aides.

There are also a dozen Tory party ‘vice-chairs and 17 MPs appointed by the PM to be ‘trade envoys’.

How many of them are there? 178.

What do they want? For the Prime Minister to survive, get her deal and reach exit day with the minimum of fuss.

Many junior ministers want promotion while many of the Cabinet want to be in a position to take the top job when Mrs May goes.

How will they vote? With the Prime Minister.

European Research Group Brexiteers demanding a No Confidence Vote

Who are they: The most hard line of the Brexiteers, they launched a coup against Mrs May after seeing the divorce. Led by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker.

How many of them are there: 26

What do they want: The removal of Mrs May and a ‘proper Brexit’. Probably no deal now, with hopes for a Canada-style deal later.

How will they vote: Against the Prime Minister.

Other Brexiteers in the ERG

Who are they: There is a large block of Brexiteer Tory MPs who hate the deal but have so far stopped short of moving to remove Mrs May – believing that can destroy the deal instead. They include ex Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith and ex minister Owen Paterson.

Ex ministers like Boris Johnson and David Davis are also in this group – they probably want to replace Mrs May but have not publicly moved against her.

How many of them are there? Around 50.

What do they want? The ERG has said Mrs May should abandon her plans for a unique trade deal and instead negotiate a ‘Canada plus plus plus’ deal.

This is based on a trade deal signed between the EU and Canada in August 2014 that eliminated 98 per cent of tariffs and taxes charged on goods shipped across the Atlantic.

The EU has long said it would be happy to do a deal based on Canada – but warn it would only work for Great Britain and not Northern Ireland.

How will they vote: Against the Prime Minister.

Remain including the People’s Vote supporters

Who are they: Tory MPs who believe the deal is just not good enough for Britain. They include the group of unrepentant Remainers who want a new referendum like Anna Soubry and ex-ministers who quit over the deal including Jo Johnson and Phillip Lee.

How many of them are there: Maybe around 10.

What do they want? To stop Brexit. Some want a new referendum, some think Parliament should step up and say no.

A new referendum would take about six months from start to finish and they group wants Remain as an option on the ballot paper, probably with Mrs May’s deal as the alternative.

How will they vote? Against the Prime Minister.

Moderates in the Brexit Delivery Group (BDG) and other Loyalists

Who are they? A newer group, the BDG counts members from across the Brexit divide inside the Tory Party. It includes former minister Nick Boles and MPs including Remainer Simon Hart and Brexiteer Andrew Percy.

There are also lots of unaligned Tory MPs who are desperate to talk about anything else.

How many of them are there? Based on public declarations, about 48 MPs have either said nothing or backed the deal.

What do they want? The BDG prioritises delivering on Brexit and getting to exit day on March 29, 2019, without destroying the Tory Party or the Government. If the PM gets a deal the group will probably vote for it.

It is less interested in the exact form of the deal but many in it have said Mrs May’s Chequers plan will not work.

Mr Boles has set out a proposal for Britain to stay in the European Economic Area (EEA) until a free trade deal be negotiated – effectively to leave the EU but stay in close orbit as a member of the single market.

How will they vote? With the Prime Minister.

The DUP

Who are they? The Northern Ireland Party signed up to a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with the Conservative Party to prop up the Government.

They are Unionist and say Brexit is good but must not carve Northern Ireland out of the Union.

How many of them are there? 10.

What do they want? A Brexit deal that protects Northern Ireland inside the UK.

How will they vote? Against the Prime Minister on the grounds they believe the deal breaches the red line of a border in the Irish Sea.

Labour Loyalists

Who are they? Labour MPs who are loyal to Jeremy Corbyn and willing to follow his whipping orders.

How many of them are there? Up to 250 MPs depending on exactly what Mr Corbyn orders them to do.

What do they want? Labour policy is to demand a general election and if the Government refuses, ‘all options are on the table’, including a second referendum.

Labour insists it wants a ‘jobs first Brexit’ that includes a permanent customs union with the EU. It says it is ready to restart negotiations with the EU with a short extension to the Article 50 process.

The party says Mrs May’s deal fails its six tests for being acceptable.

How will they vote? Against the Prime Minister’s current deal.

Labour Rebels

Who are they? A mix of MPs totally opposed to Mr Corbyn’s leadership, some Labour Leave supporters who want a deal and some MPs who think any deal will do at this point.

How many of them are there? Maybe 10 to 20 MPs but this group is diminishing fast – at least for the first vote on the deal.

What do they want? An orderly Brexit and to spite Mr Corbyn.

How will they vote? With the Prime Minister.

Other Opposition parties

Who are they? The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Green Caroline Lucas and assorted independents.

How many of them are there? About 60 MPs.

How will they vote? Mostly against the Prime Minister – though two of the independents are suspended Tories and two are Brexiteer former Labour MPs. 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.