Three Tory ministers have urged Theresa May to rule out a no-deal Brexit and threatened to back a House of Commons move to force a delay if her deal was voted down.
The digital minister, Margot James, urged the prime minister to rule out what would be the “catastrophe” of a no-deal Brexit, warning that she and other ministers are ready to resign if the prime minister refuses. James, alongside fellow ministers Richard Harrington and Claire Perry, called on the government to extend article 50 to avoid leaving the EU with no deal on 29th March.
Writing in the Daily Mail, they warned against being “swept over the precipice” on March 29.
The group signalled the group’s support for the Cooper/Letwin amendment writing: “It is a commitment that would be greeted with relief by the vast majority of MPs, businesses and their employees. We implore the government to take that step this week
“But if the prime minister is not able to make this commitment, we will have no choice other than to join MPs of all parties in the House of Commons, including fellow ministers, in acting in the national interest to prevent a disaster in less than five weeks’ time that we may regret forever.”
Today’s news comes after the Prime Minister suggested she could try to take her Withdrawal Agreement through parliament before it had been formally approved by the other 27 member states of the EU.
Digital minister James adds re WTO exit: "For us to leave the biggest trade deal we’ve got, in pursuit of other trade deals that might take 10 yrs to negotiate with far smaller countries, is madness."
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) February 26, 2019
Amid growing pressure to delay Brexit with just 32 days left, the Prime Minister insisted it was “within our grasp” for the UK to leave the EU with her deal on 29th March.
European Council president Donald Tusk however revealed that he had discussed the legal and procedural process for extending Article 50 with May when he met her in Egypt on Sunday.
Mr Tusk said delaying the UK’s withdrawal beyond March 29th was now a rational solution, warning that the only alternative, if MPs could agree a deal, would be a “chaotic” Brexit.
The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, who held talks with Mrs May in Egypt on Monday, said the UK needed to “wake up”.
“The Netherlands is one of your best friends. What you guys are doing – leaving the EU in this time of insecurity in the world, instability in EU – is the wrong decision.
“It’s four weeks until the end date and still the UK has not agreed a position. So, now we are sleepwalking into a no-deal scenario. It’s unacceptable and your best friends have to warn you.
“Wake up. This is real. Come to a conclusion and close the deal.”