MPs may not get a second ‘meaningful vote’ on her Brexit deal until March 12 – 17 days before the UK is set to leave the EU, Theresa May has revealed.
The prime minister told reporters on Sunday that MPs would not get the chance to vote on her plan this week – but that she would ensure the vote happens by March 12.
“I was in Brussels last week,” she said on a flight to Egypt for a summit in Sharm el Sheik.
“Ministers were in Brussels last week. My team will be back in Brussels again this coming week,” she continued, saying they would return on Tuesday.
“As a result of that we won’t bring a meaningful vote to parliament this week. But we will ensure that that happens by March 12.
“But it is still within our grasp to leave the European Union with a deal on March 29.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused May of putting the country at risk “by recklessly running down the clock to force MPs to choose between her bad deal and a disastrous no-deal”.
Kicking the can down the road only adds to the crippling uncertainty for businesses on both sides of the channel & for millions of citizens. I have seen many surprising decisions in a lifetime in politics. But this is close to being one of the most reckless. https://t.co/PNqmJtBrnq
Meanwhile, Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt said the prime minister was “kicking the can down the road, saying the decision to delay the Brexit vote was “one of the most reckless” he had seen in his political career.
May’s announcement comes just a day after three Cabinet ministers – Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Gauke – revealed that they would rebel against the prime minister and vote to extend Article 50 in order to avoid no-deal.
But May said delaying Brexit day would not deal with the issues.
“Now, often people talk about the extension of Article 50 as if that will actually solve the issue. Of course it won’t. It defers the point of decision. There comes a point where we need to make that decision.
“There will always come a point where we have to decide whether we accept the deal that’s been negotiated or not.” That will be a decision for every MP, she added.
Meanwhile, May insisted collective responsibility had not “broken down”.
“What we have seen around the Cabinet table, in the party, and in the country at large is strong views on the issue of Europe,” she said. “That is not a surprise to anybody.
“We have around the Cabinet table a collective, not just responsibility, but desire, to actually ensure that we leave the European Union with a deal. That’s what we’re working for and that’s what I’m working for.”
May dodged questions as to whether the three ministers should remain in government, replying: “What we see around the Cabinet table is strong views held on the issue of Europe.”