UK PM May Says Focused on December 11 Brexit Vote, Not Alternatives

Prime Minister Theresa May visits the Scottish Leather Group Limited in Bridge of Weir Scotland

Prime Minister Theresa May visits the Scottish Leather Group Limited in Bridge of Weir Scotland

Theresa May's plans to get her Brexit deal through parliament ran into fresh difficulties on Friday as it emerged that a "no to no deal" amendment submitted by Labour's Hilary Benn with the support of two Tories had won the backing of the SNP and Lib Dems.

And she accused Labour of pursuing "narrow party interest" in trying to bring on a general election by putting down an amendment to the crucial House of Commons motion which would block her deal without offering anything in its place.

If every opposition MP voted against, and they were joined by the 18 Tory MPs who have said they will also oppose it, this alone would be enough to defeat the deal.

She does not wish to do that, because she fears it would make it far easier for her MPs to vote against her on December 11, because they would know their votes were conscience-salving protest votes, rather than deal-destroying and possibly government-wrecking extreme sabotage.

"I've got a plan, I've got a proposal, I've got the deal that I've negotiated, " she said ahead of the G-20 summit in Argentina.

"I think it is important members of parliament focus on the nature of this vote".

"A few days before the vote in the House of Commons, it is becoming more and more clear that this deal is the best possible - in fact, the only possible one".

The Government on Wednesday published an assessment of the economic impact of Brexit, showing Britain would be worse off in any scenario outside the EU.

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This category includes the likes of Esther McVey, who resigned from the Cabinet on November 15 saying "I can not vote for this deal", and Suella Braverman, who resigned from the Government on the same day saying she was "unable to sincerely support the deal".

Dr Fox was reported to be among a group of five Cabinet ministers seeking to tweak Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement before MPs vote on December 11. A cross-party group of senior lawmakers has put forward an amendment to block Mrs May's European Union withdrawal deal and to rule out a no-deal Brexit. Speaking to reporters en route to the meeting, the Prime Minister again talked down other options, rejecting Canada or Norway style deals in favour of her own.

Many members of Parliament on both sides of the Brexit debate oppose the deal - Brexiters because it keeps Britain bound closely to the European Union, pro-EU politicians because it erects barriers between the United Kingdom and the European Union, its biggest trading partner.

Mrs May has said that if the agreement is rejected by Parliament it would lead to greater division and uncertainty.

Mrs May said that separate analyses produced by Whitehall officials and the Bank of England this week each showed that the agreement she reached in Brussels is "the best deal that honours the result of the referendum".

"The prime minister has been changing the public mood, if you look at what's been happening in polling there's clearly a shift there", Fox said. "Members of Parliament need to make their own decisions for themselves but they have to compare this particular deal against the alternatives".

A no-deal Brexit would not be a disaster, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has insisted.

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