Theresa May calls on MPs to 'have faith with British people' in desperate plea to save her Brexit deal

Posted On: 
12th March 2019

Theresa May today urged MPs to "have faith with the British people" and back her Brexit deal in a final plea to save her plan.

Theresa May in the Commons
Credit: 
PA Images

Struggling to speak through a faltering voice, the Prime Minister called on the Commons to vote for the agreement she secured crucial changes to last night after last-ditch talks in Strasbourg.

But with just hours until the historic vote, the DUP - which props her up in Government - and hardline Tory eurosceptics announced they will not support the plans.

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The eurosceptics announced their decision after Attorney General Geoffrey Cox confirmed the new-look deal would not prevent the UK being kept in the Irish backstop arrangement indefinitely against its will.

The backstop would see the UK remain in a customs union with the EU to ensure no hard border in Ireland if talks between the Government and Brussels break down.

But Mrs May pleaded in the Commons: “The danger for those of us who want to deliver, to have faith with the British public, and deliver on their vote for Brexit, is if this vote is not passed tonight, if this deal is not passed, then Brexit could be lost.”

MPs are expected to back a delay to Brexit in the coming days if they reject the deal tonight, and will vote tomorrow on whether to quit the bloc with no deal.

The Prime Minister warned a delay could usher in "a Brexit that does not meet the expectations of those who voted to leave or even moving to a second referendum, and all the damage that would do to trust in our democracy".

She added: “Equally there’s a risk this house would still not be able to agree a way forward and we would end up leaving without a deal.

“If any of these things were to happen it would be no good blaming the European Union, responsibility would lie with this house, our failure to come together on the national interest.”

And she added: “This is the moment, this is the time, the time for us to come together, back this motion and get the deal done.”

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Mrs May was trying to "fool" her own backbenchers with the tweaks she secured from Brussels last night.

"You can fool some people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time," he fumed.

The opposition to her deal means Mrs May is almost certain to be defeated when MPs cast their votes after 7pm tonight. It comes after she suffered a humiliating 230-vote defeat in January.

But some Tory MPs, including Ben Bradley, Sir Graham Brady and Nigel Evans, have said they will back the deal - after voting against it the last time.