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Theresa May: rejecting Brexit deal would be ‘unforgivable breach of trust’

Theresa May: rejecting Brexit deal would be ‘unforgivable breach of trust’

Theresa May has warned of a “catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust” in democracy if MPs reject her Brexit deal on Tuesday and the UK remains in the European Union. With just two days to go before the House of Commons vote on her withdrawal agreement, the prime minister, writing in the Sunday Express, pleaded…

Theresa May has warned of a “catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust” in democracy if MPs reject her Brexit deal on Tuesday and the UK remains in the European Union.

With just two days to go before the House of Commons vote on her withdrawal agreement, the prime minister, writing in the Sunday Express, pleaded with parliamentarians to “do what is right for our country” and back the controversial exit plan.

May said the UK risked crashing out of the EU without a deal or, if MPs were “unwilling” to face the uncertainty of no-deal, then the UK might not leave at all.

In what she described as the “biggest and most important decision that any MP of our generation will be asked to make”, the prime minister said it was time for politicians to “deliver” for the people.

May wrote: “You, the British people, voted to leave. And then, in the 2017 general election, 80% of you voted for MPs who stood on manifestos to respect that referendum result. You have delivered your instructions. Now it is our turn to deliver for you.

“When you turned out to vote in the referendum, you did so because you wanted your voice to be heard. Some of you put your trust in the political process for the first time in decades. We cannot – and must not – let you down.

“Doing so would be a catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust in our democracy. So my message to parliament this weekend is simple: it is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country.”

Her warning came as Downing Street said it was “extremely concerned” about a reported backbench plot to change Commons rules to enable backbench motions to take precedence over government business if May’s deal falls.

Under the rebels’ alleged plan, reported by the Sunday Times, the government would lose control of parliamentary business, which would threaten Brexit legislation and the government’s ability to govern. It was previously thought only ministers could put a halt to Britain leaving with no deal.

Elsewhere, it emerged that the Speaker of the Commons, John Bercow, met Tory remain rebel Dominic Grieve on Tuesday, the day before his controversial decision to allow MPs a vote on Grieve’s amendment to the timetable of the Brexit deal.

As speculation mounted that May’s deal would be defeated, the prime minister faced calls from a predecessor, Sir John Major, in the Sunday Times to revoke article 50 to halt Brexit as he warned it would be “morally reprehensible” to crash out without a deal.

Calling for a second referendum, which he argued should be the “definitive decision” honoured by all party leaders, Major condemned the “fantasies” of the leave campaigns and May’s cabinet colleagues, who he said had turned “from supportive flatterers to would-be assassins”.

More than 100 MEPs from 26 EU member states signed a letter calling on the UK to “reconsider” the Brexit decision, saying the UK’s departure would “weaken all of us”.

May faced further opposition to her deal from one of her former Brexit secretaries.

Dominic Raab used an article in the Sunday Telegraph to urge MPs to vote down May’s “bad” deal to send a message to Brussels that the UK “will not be bullied”.

He said if the deal were defeated, Britain should continue to press the EU for a deal that “respects the referendum but if Brussels’ “intransigence” persisted “we must be willing to leave the EU at the end of March on World Trade Organisation terms”.

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