Theresa May has urged MPs to back her Brexit deal ‘for the country’s sake’ as Tuesday’s Commons vote looms closer, reports BBC.
She warned of ‘paralysis in Parliament’ if the deal is rejected and said trust in politics would suffer ‘catastrophic harm’ if the UK did not leave the EU.
The PM welcomed new EU assurances over the impact of the deal on Northern Ireland, saying they had ‘legal force’.
The EU said it didn’t want to use the ‘backstop’ but, if it did, it would be for ‘the shortest possible period’.
The ‘backstop’ is the fallback plan to avoid any return to physical Northern Ireland border checks.
In a letter to Mrs May, the EU said new commitments to look at alternatives to the customs arrangement and to fast-track talks on future relations had ‘legal value’ and the EU would treat them ‘in the most solemn manner’.
Speaking in Stoke, Mrs May welcomed what she said were ‘valuable new clarifications and assurances’, saying ‘they make absolutely clear that the backstop is not a threat nor a trap’.
Jeremy Corbyn has said Labour will vote against the deal and would start moves to trigger a general election if it is voted down.
He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “We will table a motion of no confidence in the government at a time of our choosing, but it’s going to be soon, don’t worry about it.”
Mrs May’s speech comes amid reports MPs plan to take control of Brexit if her deal is defeated.
About 100 Conservative MPs, and the Democratic Unionist Party’s 10 MPs, are currently expected to join Labour and the other opposition parties in voting against the deal.
Speaking to factory workers, Mrs May said: “As we have seen over the last few weeks, there are some in Westminster who would wish to delay or even stop Brexit and who will use every device available to them to do so.”
She added that she now believes MPs blocking Brexit was more likely than a no-deal scenario.
Mrs May said: “I ask MPs to consider the consequences of their actions on the faith of the British people in our democracy.”
“Imagine if an anti-devolution House of Commons had said to the people of Scotland or Wales that despite voting in favour of a devolved legislature, Parliament knew better and would overrule them. Or else force them to vote again.”
“What if we found ourselves in a situation where Parliament tried to take the UK out of the EU in opposition to a remain vote?”
“People’s faith in the democratic process and their politicians would suffer catastrophic harm. We all have a duty to implement the result of the referendum.”
She gave the example of the Welsh devolution referendum in 1997, when people voted by a margin of 0.3% to create the Welsh Assembly, arguing: “That result was accepted by both sides and the popular legitimacy of that institution has never seriously been questioned.”
However, records show Mrs May did in fact herself vote against the establishment of the Welsh Assembly after that referendum – while the 2005 Conservative manifesto pledged to offer the Welsh people a ‘referendum on whether to keep the Assembly in its current form, increase its powers or abolish it’.