Sajid Javid warns Brexit could be cancelled if MPs fail to back Theresa May's deal by October
Sajid Javid has warned colleagues that failing to back Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement by the end of October could lead to Brexit being cancelled altogether.
The Home Secretary said he feared anti-Brexit MPs would bring forward legislation in an attempt to revoke the Article 50 process in a bid to prevent the UK crashing out without a deal.
The UK was due to leave the EU on 29 March, but that deadline has now been pushed back to 31 October because of the Prime Minister's failure to win MPs' backing for her deal at three Commons votes.
Mrs May and Jeremy Corbyn have been locked in talks since the start of April in a bid to find a compromise deal.
The sides have remained deadlocked however over the Labour leader’s demand for the UK to agree a full and permanent customs union with the EU.
When Mr Javid was asked on the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast whether he would prefer a compromise deal with Labour or a no-deal outcome, he responded: “I want us to leave with an orderly deal.
“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.
“That is what worries me the most – that we could lose Brexit altogether. The most important thing is to get this deal through…”
He said backbenchers have already shown they can force legislation past Mrs May’s minority government, before adding: “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…”
“It would be a disaster on many levels. But absolutely we would need to meet the commitment through the referendum, which was very clear, to leave. The way to do that is through the Prime Minister’s deal”.
Elsewhere the Cabinet minister accepted that the PM’s deal represented a “series of compromises”, such as the controversial backstop, which seeks to ensure an open border in Ireland through a customs union until an alternative solution is found.
“There are clearly aspects of the deal that I wish weren’t there. I don’t like the backstop arrangement," he added.
“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. We’ve got to get a deal through.
“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.”
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe