Theresa May tells rebel MPs to come up with 'alternative solution' or back her Brexit deal

  • PM ‘defers’ crucial vote after conceding Government would’ve lost by ‘significant margin’
  • May admits Government are ‘stepping up plans’ for no-deal Brexit
  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says May’s Government ‘in disarray’
  • Come up with a better solution, May tells opponents

Theresa May has told rebel MPs who oppose her Brexit deal to come up with a better solution or back her.

The PM was told she must ‘govern or go’ as she delayed her crucial Brexit vote to avoid a ‘significant’ defeat.

Mrs May warned warring politicians that all options for dealing with Brexit posed significant risks. She said: “If you want a second referendum to overturn the result of the first, be honest that this risks dividing the country again, when as a House we should be striving to bring it back together.

“If you want to remain part of the single market and the customs union, be open that this would require free movement, rule-taking across the economy, and ongoing financial contributions – none of which are in my view compatible with the result of the referendum.

“If you want to leave without a deal, be upfront that in the short term, this would cause significant economic damage to parts of our country who can least afford to bear the burden.

“I do not believe that any of those courses of action command a majority in this House.”

The prime minister delivers the news of the Brexit vote delay in the Commons on Monday. (PA/BBC)

Mrs May ‘deferred’ the ‘meaningful vote’ on her negotiated deal with the EU, despite Downing Street insisting all morning it would go ahead as planned.

She said that if it had gone ahead, the Government would have been heavily defeated.

The PM during also admitted during a raucous Commons debate that the Government was ‘stepping up preparations’ for a no-deal Brexit.

Mrs May said she would now try and secure ‘additional reassurance’ on the Irish backstop from the EU before MPs vote on the deal she has negotiated.

Mrs May said that if the vote had gone ahead, the government would have been defeated ‘by a significant margin’. (PA)

Brexiteer Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “What has two years of Theresa May doing Brexit amounted to?

“An undeliverable deal parliament would roundly reject, if the Prime Minister has the gumption to allow it to go before the House of Commons.

“This is not governing, it risks putting Jeremy Corbyn into government by failing to deliver Brexit. We cannot continue like this. The Prime Minister must either govern or quit.”

The move was seized upon by the Remain camp, who said May’s continued dithering was a sign that  second referendum is the only way to solve the impasse.

Labour Remainer Chuka Umunna said: “We are already a divided country, and nothing fuels the far right more than a deteriorating economy.

Whatever tweaks are made to the backstop – the PM’s plan will still leave the country poorer. We need a People’s Vote to get the people’s informed consent on what happens next.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said she was ‘trying to buy herself one last chance’.


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He said: “If the Prime Minister cannot be clear that she can and will renegotiate a deal then she must make way.

Attacking the Prime Minister for excluding her own Brexit secretaries from negotiations and not listening to MPs, Mr Corbyn said Mrs May must listen or go.

He said: “It’s not only possible but necessary that this House debates the negotiating mandate the PM takes to Brussels – there’s no point at all this PM bringing back the same deal again which is clearly not supported by this House.”