Defeat for May could stop Brexit: Britain’s departure from the EU will be ’50-50′ if MPs vote down PM’s deal with Brussels, warns Liam Fox
- The Commons will vote on Theresa May’s deal in the week beginning on Jan. 14
- Mrs May postponed the ‘meaningful vote’ earlier this month expecting a defeat
- Pro-Brexit Cabinet minister Liam Fox said it was a ‘matter of honour’ to back her
The chances of Brexit will be no more than 50-50 if MPs vote down Theresa May’s withdrawal deal, pro-Leave minister Liam Fox has said.
The Commons will vote on the deal in the week beginning on January 14 after Mrs May, expecting to lose, delayed the ‘meaningful vote’ earlier this month.
A defeat for Mrs May could lead to a no-deal Brexit, a confidence vote in the Commons or a possible general election.
The International Trade Secretary told The Sunday Times it was a ‘matter of honour’ for MPs to back the PM’s deal.
The chances of Brexit will be no more than 50-50 if MPs vote down Theresa May’s withdrawal deal, pro-Leave minister Liam Fox (pictured in Downing Street earlier this month) has said
Dr Fox, who backed Leave in 2016, warned fellow MPs that failure to pass Mrs May’s deal would be ‘incendiary.
Having given the public the right to decide on EU membership in a referendum, ‘Parliament cannot now, with any honour, renege on that result’, the Cabinet minister said.
‘Were they to do so, I think you would shatter the bond of trust between the electorate and Parliament. And I think that would put us into unprecedented territory with unknowable consequences.’
He said he ‘would not give it much more than 50-50’ for Britain to leave the EU if the deal is voted down.
Mrs May’s 585-page withdrawal deal sparked fury on the Tory backbenches when it was unveiled last month.
Conservative rebels were fiercely critical of the Irish backstop, voicing fears it would leave Britain tied to EU trading rules indefinitely.
They failed to oust Mrs May in a confidence vote earlier this month, meaning she cannot face another challenge from her party for a year.
A defeat for Theresa May (pictured at church on Christmas Day) could lead to a no-deal Brexit, a confidence vote in the House of Commons or a possible general election
However her government could still be toppled by a confidence vote in the House of Commons, although Jeremy Corbyn has so far declined to call one.
Mr Corbyn has said Labour will oppose the deal, calling it a ‘miserable failure of negotiation’ and the ‘worst of all worlds’.
Campaigners for a second EU referendum seized on Dr Fox’s comments, pointing to polls suggesting that fewer than 50 per cent of Britons now want to leave the EU.
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, a leading supporter of the Best for Britain campaign for a referendum, said: ‘Brexit not happening isn’t 50-50 as Liam Fox says. It’s actually 56-44.
‘That’s the way the public now feels about us stopping this badly-led disaster and strengthening ourselves within the EU.
‘The only thing that is shattering the bond of trust between electorate and Parliament is the refusal of ministers like Liam Fox to trust people with the final say on Brexit.’