Belfast Telegraph

May tells MPs to ‘hold their nerve’ over Brexit agreement

The Prime Minister also insisted she will still have a job after next week’s key Commons vote.

Prime Minister Theresa May is facing more pressure over Brexit (David Mirzoeff/PA)
Prime Minister Theresa May is facing more pressure over Brexit (David Mirzoeff/PA)

Theresa May has told Tory MPs to “hold their nerve” and back her Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister insisted she would still have a job in two weeks’ time as she faces a crunch Commons vote on her EU withdrawal agreement on December 11. Mrs May told ITV’s This Morning: “At the end of the line it is, I think, about holding our nerve and getting this over the line so we can deliver on Brexit and people can have that better future.”

Asked if she would still have a job after the showdown vote, Mrs May said: “I will still have a job in two weeks’ time.

“My job is making sure that we do what the public asked us to, we leave the EU but we do it in a way that is good for them.”

Pressed on whether she would resign if the Commons rejected her Brexit deal next week, Mrs May said: “I’m focusing on, you know, getting that vote, and getting the vote over the line.

This is not a, sort of 'oh, well, it's just any old vote'. Actually, this is about delivering for what people voted for when they voted in that referendum to leave the EU Prime Minister Theresa May

“Because this is, as I say, it’s an important moment in our history.

“This is not a, sort of ‘oh, well, it’s just any old vote’. Actually, this is about delivering for what people voted for when they voted in that referendum to leave the EU.

“I think that’s important for us as politicians to remember that.”

Referring to calls for a new referendum, the PM said: “People are talking about a second vote when we haven’t even delivered on the first vote.

“We asked people to vote. We said ‘please decide whether we should leave or remain’.

“People voted to leave and I think there’s a, sort of, democratic duty on us as politicians, having had that referendum, and having said it is your choice, to actually deliver on it.”

Asked if she was “knackered” after a busy schedule trying to convince the public of the benefits of her deal, Mrs May said: “It’s a tough time, it’s a difficult time … an awful lot of work has had to go into this.

“But I always think the key thing is just keep focused on what the end point is. The end point is getting a good deal through for the UK and delivering on what people voted for.

“That is what drives me.”

Mrs May said MPs should reflect on the Brexit deal and back it in the “national interest”.

The PM said: “We can be better off. That’s up to us. It’s going to be different from being in the EU. It is a different relationship. But, that’s what people voted for.”

The comments came as Home Secretary Sajid Javid said it is “very unlikely” MPs will be able to see the Government’s long-awaited immigration white paper ahead of the meaningful vote on the Brexit deal.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It’s unlikely, actually very unlikely, to be published before the vote. It will be published soon.”

Mr Javid also insisted the Brexit deal was the “right deal for the country” and dismissed reports that the vote will be pulled.

He said: “I don’t think there is any chance of pulling the vote … I just don’t see that happening.”

The remarks came as demands grew for the Government to release the full legal advice on the Withdrawal Agreement in order to avoid a major constitutional battle with Parliament.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will on Monday attempt to head off a threat by opposition parties to initiate proceedings against the Government for contempt of Parliament.

Ministers have been accused of ignoring the will of the House after saying they will publish only a “full reasoned political statement” on the legal position concerning the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Government is to publish a command paper on the legal advice on the Brexit deal, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

Asked whether this would contain the full legal advice given to the Government by Mr Cox, the spokesman said: “It is a full-reasoned position statement as David Lidington set out in the House a few weeks ago.”

Adding to pressure on Mrs May, it was reported that the PM’s chief Brexit adviser secretly warned her that the Northern Ireland “backstop” agreed in her deal with Brussels was a “bad outcome” for Britain.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Oliver Robbins said the backstop, intended to prevent the return of a hard border with the Irish Republic, would mean the imposition of regulatory checks between the North and the rest of the UK, according to The Daily Telegraph.

  • The newspaper, which said it had been passed details of the letter by a “concerned minister”, said Mr Robbins had advised there was no legal “guarantee” Britain would be able to exit the backstop, potentially leaving the UK tied to EU customs arrangements.



From Belfast Telegraph