Connect with us

Featured

PM urges ‘new spirit’ as she tries to convince MPs to back her Brexit deal

Published

on

“In this new year”, the prime minister writes in the Mail on Sunday today, “let’s discover a new spirit of common purpose”.

It is her last chance to reset the terms of the Brexit discussion before MPs return to Westminster on Monday to debate and vote on her proposals.

In the article, Theresa May warns that those who reject her deal risk putting the jobs and livelihoods of their constituents at risk and calls on them to change their minds.

The prime minister knows that if she cannot convince them, the pressure on her to secure some kind of legal compromise from the EU is even greater. And European leaders don’t want to budge either.

Number 10 had hoped that the Christmas break would be a chance for MPs to take stock and listen to their constituents.

Experts in Mrs May’s team firmly believe voters want a deal to be struck so the country and the government can move on to talking about other issues.

But this looks like a miscalculation, with a new poll showing grassroots Tories hate the deal more than Conservative MPs and Labour under increasing pressure to reject the deal too.

Without a change of heart Mrs May’s only salvation will come from the EU, but despite warm words from EU leaders, so far no concrete promise has been forthcoming.

Her critics want a legal guarantee that the Northern Irish backstop will not be used, but even that won’t be good enough for the most hard-line who now want a “no-deal” Brexit at all costs.



The Northern Ireland backstop is fast becoming the most famous part of the Withdrawal Agreement - and for good reason.




1:04

Video:
Backstop: What it is, and why it’s controversial

The result is a parliament as divided as it was in December, when Mrs May called off the Brexit vote amid fears she would lose it.

The only difference is that government sources now believe her critics have “priced in” the prime minister losing the first vote and will allow her to have another go without calling for her resignation.

This school of thought was boosted by the failed attempt to oust Mrs May, launched by Jacob Rees-Mogg, who now claims she has his full support.

:: Withdrawal deal in detail: What you need to know

If the government does lose the Brexit vote it could choose to call another in the hope that a defeat will force EU leaders to make further compromises, which in turn could swing wavering Conservative MPs into line.

But the stakes are high and the government is taking no chances, with Mrs May herself heading up a new no-deal Brexit committee which will meet for the first time next week.

While she hopes to persuade MPs to back her deal and convince them to move on to talking about other issues by launching her NHS plan, very little has changed for most of those returning to parliament.

The question now is, who will blink first.

Advertisement Find your dream job

Trending