Theresa May condemned as she warns MPs she could ignore any alternative Brexit plan they vote for

Posted On: 
25th March 2019

Theresa May has warned MPs that could ignore any alternative plan to her deal even if a majority of them vote for it.

Theresa May addresses MPs during her Brexit statement.
PA Images

The Prime Minister said she was "sceptical" that so-called "indicative votes" were a potential way out of the Brexit deadlock.

MPs could get the chance on Wednesday to vote on a range of options, including a Norway-style deal to keep the UK in the single market, or a second referendum.

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But in a statement to the Commons on Monday afternoon, Mrs May said that even if they were backed by a majority of MPs, they would not be binding on the Government.

She said: "I must confess that I am sceptical about such a process of indicative votes. 

"When we have tried this kind of thing in the past, it has produced contradictory outcomes or no outcome at all. There is a further risk when it comes to Brexit, as the UK is only one half of the equation and the votes could lead to an outcome that is unnegotiable with the EU.

"No government could give a blank cheque to commit to an outcome without knowing what it is.

"So I cannot commit the Government to delivering the outcome of any votes held by this House. But I do commit to engaging constructively with this process."

But Ian Blackford, the SNP's leader at Westminster, said the Prime Minister was turning Parliament into a "puppet show".

He said: "Will the Prime Minister tell us, do our votes count? Are they binding on the Government, or is this just a puppet show?

"If that is the case, this is the greatest assualt on democracy inflicted by any Prime Minister, and if Members of Parliament are prepared to tolerate that, then shame on them."

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also admitted that there was still insufficent support for her Brexit deal, meaning she is unlikely to bring forward a third meaningful vote this week.

She said: "I continue to believe that the right path forward is for the United Kingdom to leave the EU as soon as possible with a deal, now on 22nd May.

"But it is with great regret that I have had to conclude that as things stand, there is still not sufficient support in the House to bring back the deal for a third Meaningful Vote.

"I continue to have discussions with colleagues across the House to build support, so that we can bring the vote forward this week, and guarantee Brexit.

"If we cannot, the Government made a commitment that we would work across the House to find a majority on a way forward."

Earlier, DUP leader Arlene Foster had told the Prime Minister her party's 10 MPs could still not support her deal.