Defeat for Theresa May’s Brexit deal will mean a general election within weeks, says Tory MP

Prime minister Theresa May speaks during the Brexit debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday (Picture: PA)

A defeat for Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons will mean a general election within weeks, a Conservative MP has said.

Charles Walker, vice chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, said defeat in Tuesday evening’s meaningful vote would lead to a general election.

The prime minister is staring down another humiliating defeat for her Brexit deal, despite receiving last-minute agreements from Brussels.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox advised on Tuesday that the changes to the deal “reduce the risk” that the UK could be trapped indefinitely in the backstop but do not remove it altogether.

Both the DUP and the European Research Group of Tory Brexiteers have said they cannot support the deal.

Mr Walker told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: “If it doesn’t go through tonight, as sure as night follows day, there will be a general election within a matter of days or weeks.

“It is not sustainable, the current situation in Parliament.”

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Mr Walker, who is chairman of the Commons Procedure Committee, said: “The country deserves more than this. It elects Members of Parliament to make decisions.

“We need to make a decision tonight and that has to be to let this deal pass.

“If the deal is defeated tonight it is impossible to imagine that the prime minister would allow this to drift into next week when Oliver Letwin will table a Bill for the House of Commons to take over the negotiating process.

“No government is going to allow that to happen. So, I think then you get into one of the only options is the prime minister collapses the House of Commons.”

Referring to Mrs May, Mr Walker said: “She will lead us into that general election. We haven’t got time for a leadership election. I’m afraid needs must when the devil drives.

“I don’t think people have grasped that if you can’t govern a country, you can’t go on for weeks, months, years.

“You have to go and get a new mandate. She will have to do that for the sake of the country.”

Mr Walker added: “A general election will be bad for the Conservative Party and catastrophic for the Labour Party.

“It is not what I want to see happen. That is why I am voting for the deal tonight.”

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