Brexit: The week ahead
Theresa May is unlikely to be winding down for Christmas any time soon.
As Cabinet tensions on Brexit continue, Theresa May is likely to face another tough few days ahead of the Christmas break.
Here is how this week is expected to play out for the Prime Minister and Britain’s departure from the EU.
On Monday, Mrs May is set to face the Commons for the first time since last week’s bruising EU summit.
The PM will use a statement to Parliament to condemn calls for a second Brexit referendum, saying a new poll would do “irreparable damage” to the integrity of British politics.
Her address comes after close allies – de facto deputy Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington and chief of staff Gavin Barwell – distanced themselves from reports that they were manoeuvring to bring about a fresh referendum.
Ministers are likely to be keen to make their views known at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, with several having already staked out strong Brexit positions.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Britain would “prosper” even if it quit the EU with no deal, while Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has argued firmly against leaving the bloc without an agreement.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox indicated he could support MPs being given a free vote on Brexit options.
The last Prime Minister’s Questions of the year is scheduled for Wednesday at 12pm. It will likely mean more tough questions for the PM from both the opposition and within her own ranks.
100 days to go
Wednesday also marks 100 days until the date the UK is due to leave the EU, on March 29 2019.
Despite the impending deadline, it is still unclear whether the UK will leave under the terms of a deal, with no deal, or even whether it will leave at all, after the European Court of Justice said Article 50 could be revoked unilaterally and continue as a full EU member without seeking approval from Brussels.
The European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has said “all the information that is generally useful for the preparation of no deal” will be published on Wednesday.
The House of Commons is due to rise for Christmas on Thursday, but there is still the question over whether there will be a vote on Mrs May’s Brexit deal before then.
The PM has been urged by former minister Jo Johnson not to “run down the clock” on giving MPs a proper say on Brexit, after she postponed last week’s crunch vote.
Labour has said it will try to force a Brexit vote before Christmas, and shadow communities minister Andrew Gwynne said a confidence vote could quickly follow.