The UK must choose between Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit agreement, remaining in the EU or departing without a deal, MPs were warned today.
European Council president Donald Tusk said if Mrs May’s deal is voted down in Parliament on December 11 there would be no renegotiation.
Tusk told the G20 summit in Argentina that the deal on offer is ‘the best possible one’ and that the EU had agreed an ‘orderly divorce’ with the UK.
He added: “A few days before the vote in the House of Commons it is becoming more and more clear that this deal is the best possible, in fact the only possible one.
“If this deal is rejected in the Commons, we are left with, as was already stressed a few weeks ago by Prime Minister May, an alternative: No deal or no Brexit at all.”
He said that the EU would be prepared for all eventualities as Mrs May’s deal heads for a predicted defeat in Parliament in a fortnight.
His remarks follow Mrs May’s appearance before a Commons committee this week in which she appeared to hint that extending Article 50 would mean a renegotiation of the deal.
Article 50 is a clause in the EU’s Treaty of Lisbon that sets a two-year clock ticking for a country to leave the EU – it was activated by the UK on March 29 last year.
The EU says it would be willing to consider extending this process if the UK requested it, but not to conduct any renegotiation of the withdrawal agreement.
Mrs May appeared to have performed a U-turn on what she told the Commons committee when she spoke to the BBC in Buenos Aires today.
She told the BBC: “The EU have made clear that this is the deal. This is the deal that is on the table.
“So, when MPs come to vote they need to think about the need for us to deliver Brexit for people, in a way that protects their constituents’ jobs and their futures.
“The deal that does that is the deal that I have negotiated, the deal that is on the table.”
She also refused to rule out a second Parliamentary vote on her deal if MPs rejected it the first time around.
Diplomats from the 27 EU member states have already held planning meetings for a no-deal Brexit in the event that Parliament votes down Mrs May’s proposals.
They went over contingencies for a range of issues including aviation, citizens’ rights, road and rail transport and consumer protection.
Mrs May will join EU leaders for a summit on December 13, two days after the crucial vote in Parliament.