May issues plea over Brexit deal as she faces Commons defeat

#Brexit special section Downing Street

MPs have been urged by the government to throw their support behind Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal in Tuesday’s vote in the Commons.

May’s withdrawal agreement with the EU is expected to be heavily defeated, with around 100 Tory MPs joining Labour, the DUP and SNP to vote it down.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn added to the Prime Minister’s woes today when he said he would table a no confidence motion in the Government if the vote is lost.

That could lead to the Government falling and a General Election being called, with just over two months left until the UK is due to leave the EU on March 29.

The Prime Minister, writing in today’s Sunday Express, says if MPs scupper her deal on Tuesday it would be a ‘catastrophic’ breach of trust.

She added: “It is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country.”

If her deal is rejected, May will have three days to come up with a ‘Plan B’ after Commons rebels voted last week to shorten the three-week timescale.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said that Speaker of the House John Bercow had caused more uncertainty after allowing the ‘Plan B’ vote to go ahead last week.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “There are lots of different plans being put forward by MPs that don’t respect the (referendum) result or risk no deal.”

Barclay said that Brexiteers seeking ‘ideological purity’ by voting the Prime Minister’s deal down were ‘leaving the door ajar to ways that increase the risk to Brexit.’

He declined to say if the Government had a plan B but added that he believed the Commons would eventually support a version of May’s exit deal.

Also on the Marr Show, Labour leader Corbyn said his MPs would vote against the deal and seek a General Election if May lost.

He said: “We will table a motion of no confidence in the government at a time of our choosing, but it’s going to be soon, don’t worry about it.”

Corbyn is under increasing pressure from a growing number of his own MPs and party members to come out in support of a second EU referendum.

But he told Marr that he would prefer a General Election first and the priority was to ensure the UK did not crash out of the EU without a deal.

“My own view is that I’d rather get a negotiated deal now, if we can, to stop the danger of a no-deal exit from the EU on 29 March – which would be catastrophic for industry.”

If MPs support a no confidence motion the government – or any other grouping – will have 14 days to win another confidence vote – if not a general election will be held.

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