Theresa May to warn successor a no-deal Brexit threatens future of United Kingdom

Posted On: 
4th July 2019

A no-deal Brexit would threaten the future of the United Kingdom, Theresa May is to warn her potential successors as Prime Minister.

Theresa May has said the Union between Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be protected
Credit: 
PA Images

Speaking in Scotland, she will say that whoever succeeds her in Number 10 must make keeping the country together "their priority".

Boris Johnson - the bookies' favourite to replace her as Tory leader - has said the UK must leave the EU "do or die" on 31 October, while Jeremy Hunt has said he would deliver a no-deal Brexit "with a heavy heart".

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But in a message to both of them, Mrs May will caution them against doing anything which could lead to the break-up of the UK.

"The job of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland brings with it privileges and responsibilities which you only really feel once the black door closes behind you," she will say.
 
“One of the first and greatest is the duty you owe to strengthen the Union. To govern on behalf of the whole United Kingdom. To respect the identities of every citizen of the UK – English and Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish.

"And to ensure that we can go on facing the future together, overcoming obstacles together, and achieving more together than we ever could apart – a Union of nations and people."

Opinion polls have shown that a majority of Scots would support independence in the event of a no-deal Brexit, while Sinn Fein has said there would also need to be a border poll on creating a united Ireland.

Despite famously saying that "no deal is better than a bad deal", it is widely accepted that Mrs May eventually conceded the risk to the Union of leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement in place was too great.

Elsewhere in her speech, she will say: "I am confident that whoever succeeds me in 10 Downing Street will make the Union their priority.

"He will be building on work done over the last three years, during which time strengthening the Union has become an explicit priority of government."