David Davis urges Theresa May to delay Brexit vote again in bid to pile pressure on Brussels

Posted On: 
3rd January 2019

David Davis has called on Theresa May to further delay the crunch Commons vote on her Brexit deal in the hope the EU will put a better offer on the table.

David Davis said the EU would be worrying about its £39bn divorce payment
Credit: 
PA Images

The former Brexit Secretary said Brussels could come forward with more concessions if the UK looked set to crash out of the bloc without an agreement in place and deny the EU a £39bn divorce payment.

The Prime Minister has said the so-called ‘meaningful vote’ on her deal will take place in the week beginning 14 January - after she pulled it in December in the face of certain defeat.

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But there is little suggestion that rebel Tory MPs or Mrs May's DUP partners are warming to the withdrawal agreement, despite her attempts to get assurances from Brussels that the Northern Ireland backstop will only be temporary.

Mr Davis - who quit the Cabinet in July last year in protest at the previous plan Mrs May presented - said delaying the vote again should not be ruled out.

“We know that the EU is worried about the loss of the £39bn 'divorce' payment if there is no deal... so this is the moment to be hard-nosed about these issues,” he wrote in the Daily Telegraph

“The more we prepare to leave the EU without a deal, the more likely a good deal becomes.”

He added: “The Withdrawal Agreement does not respect the referendum result. That is why the meaningful vote had to be delayed and one wonders if even the January vote will go ahead.

“Attempts to frighten MPs into supporting it are unlikely to work, because voting down this substandard deal will not result in no Brexit.”

Mrs May will this week make a fresh appeal to EU leaders, including German chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and European Council president Donald Tusk, according to the Financial Times.

Current Brexit Secretary Steven Barclay is meanwhile expected to meet ministers to discuss preparations for a no-deal departure.

“We are preparing for all scenarios," he wrote in the Daily Express. “As 2019 begins, we will accelerate our no deal planning further.”