The Times view on Theresa May's Brexit crisis: Taking Control

Prime Minister Theresa May with Jeremy Hunt

"So those on the Brexiteer side seeking ideological purity with a deal are risking Brexit, because there is a growing risk that events could unfold in ways that (mean) they are leaving the door ajar to ways that increase the risk to Brexit".

Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, suggested the March 29 exit date should be removed from domestic legislation if the prime minister's Brexit deal is defeated, before the United Kingdom goes to the European Union to ask for an extension to Article 50.

Meanwhile, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said she is "committed" to ensuring that the United Kingdom does not leave without a deal.

"What Article 50 says is: "The EU Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or" - and here's the key - "failing that, two years after the notification" so the notification was the letter that was delivered that Theresa May spoke about".

MPs are to vote on Mrs May's deal tomorrow night, with No 10 braced for a defeat by an unprecedented majority of more than 200.

The new forecast projects that Theresa May's government will lose Tuesday's "meaningful vote" on the withdrawal agreement and political declaration negotiated in November and will be forced to request an extension of the Article 50 window for negotiating the UK's withdrawal, which the EIU believes the European Union will agree to. "With the time it has bought, the government can pursue a new plan, but it will still be working towards a deadline to resolve the same deep political divisions over what Brexit should look like", said Haralambous.

A special leaders' summit to push back Brexit day is expected to be convened by the European council president, Donald Tusk, once a United Kingdom request is received.




The heads of state and government said at a recent summit that the withdrawal agreement, and the contentious backstop that a large number of Tory MPs fear will trap the United Kingdom in a permanent customs union, could be neither altered nor reinterpreted.

More than 100 Conservative MPs have already declared their intention to vote against May's deal.

A loss for Mrs May's would give Corbyn the opportunity to form a government. "We have seen from this week that parliament has the ability to assert itself and to shape outcomes".

Although the British Prime Minister had postponed the vote which had originally been set for December in order to get enough lawmakers from her own party or others to back the deal she has made with Brussels, she is still reportedly expected to lose the vote.

Asked what he thought might happen on Tuesday, Mr Crabb said: "If MP's don't turn up on Tuesday willing to be pragmatic, willing to compromise, then the deal won't get through and we're into a period of political crisis".

The Prime Minister faces widespread opposition to the existing agreement, primarily because of language created to prevent the reintroduction of physical border controls between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Pressed for a third time by interviewer Justin Webb on whether she would quit if Mrs May went for the no-deal option, Ms Rudd cut him short by saying: "Thank you very much, Justin".

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