Javid tells Tories to back May’s deal or risk losing Brexit altogether
The Home Secretary says it would be an ‘absolute disaster’ if pro-Remain MPs succeed in preventing Britain leaving the EU.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has delivered a fresh warning to Tory Brexiteers that they could lose Brexit altogether unless they back Theresa May’s deal.
Mr Javid said it would be an “absolute disaster” if pro-Remain MPs were able to combine to stop the Article 50 withdrawal process.
He urged Conservative MPs – and their allies in the DUP – to get behind the Prime Minister’s agreement to ensure Britain leaves the EU in an “orderly way”.
Mrs May is expected to try to bring back her deal to the Commons for a fourth time before the European elections on May 23 in an effort to ensure the new British MEPs will not have to take up their seats in the European Parliament.
I can absolutely see MPs trying to come together to pass legislation, to force the Government’s hand to try and revoke. That would be an absolute disaster Sajid Javid
The EU has given the UK until October 31 to get the Withdrawal Agreement through the British Parliament if it is to leave with a deal.
However, speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Political Thinking With Nick Robinson podcast, Mr Javid warned that if the issue was not settled by the autumn, there could be a fresh push by MPs opposed to a no-deal break to halt Brexit altogether.
“What actually worries me the most is that if we get to the end of October, there are people in Parliament that, if they think they need to stop no-deal, they might even try to revoke (Article 50). That is what worries me the most – that we could lose Brexit altogether,” he said.
“I can absolutely see MPs trying to come together to pass legislation, to force the Government’s hand to try and revoke. That would be an absolute disaster.”
Mr Javid acknowledged there were aspects of the deal which he did not like, including the controversial Northern Ireland backstop – intended to ensure there is no return of a hard border on the island of Ireland – which is a key stumbling block for many Brexiteers.
However, without a clear majority in Parliament, he said that MPs had to be prepared to compromise if they wanted to ensure the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU was honoured.
They don’t like me because of my colour and they believe, whether you’re coming from the far left, the far right, that someone’s colour should define who they are Sajid Javid
“It’s been a series of compromises to get us to where we are. You also have to recognise the arithmetic in Parliament, what we have in terms of representation,” he said.
“Anyone could look at that deal and say ‘It’s not 100% of what I wanted’. But it is a delicate compromise to take us through, make sure we honour the commitment to leave the EU, but in an orderly way.”
Mr Javid, who is widely expected to be a contender for the Tory leadership when Mrs May does step down, also spoke of the racist abuse – from both the far left and the far right – which he was subjected to on social media.
“If you look at social media on any day, especially Twitter or something, I’m getting abuse every day,” he said.
“I actually get it from the left. You know the far left, let’s say including lots of Asians who would say ‘He’s not brown enough’.
“I get it from the right and the far right in particular saying ‘He’s too brown’. So those critics, they’ve got a lot in common.
“They don’t like me because of my colour and they believe, whether you’re coming from the far left, the far right, that someone’s colour should define who they are.
“That is something that sadly I’ve got used to. I don’t like it. I try to fight it more broadly in terms of the work I do, especially through the Home Office and the important role we have in fighting hate crime, but I’ve tried to do it in every government role I’ve ever been in.”