Brexit Secretary David Davis has confirmed that Britain will leave the European Union without a deal if parliament votes against the final deal that he has negotiated.
During a session in the House of Commons on Monday, Davis confirmed that MPs would have a final vote on the Brexit deal. However, if they choose to vote against it, Britain will leave the bloc without a deal that covers issues such as trade and citizens’ rights, and also without paying any departure bill.
“It is clear that we need to take further steps to provide clarity and certainty both in the negotiations and at home regarding the implementation of any agreement into United Kingdom law,” Davis said. “This agreement will only hold if parliament approves it.”
“This will include the contents of the Withdrawal Agreement, that includes issues such as an agreement on citizens’ rights, any financial agreements, and agreements on an implementation period by both sides,” he continued. “Of course, we do not yet know the exact details of this bill and are unlikely to do so until the negotiations are near completion.”
When asked by Tory backbencher Owen Paterson whether Britain would leave the EU in March 2019 in the case that parliament rejected the deal, Davis responded: “Yes.”
The move is likely to force the largely pro-EU parliament to accept the deal that the government brings back in 2019, given that voting it down would mean Britain trading with the bloc on World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and leaving issues such as the Irish border and immigration policy also unsettled.
Prime Minister Theresa May has recently begun preparations for the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit by spending billions of pounds on new technology to speed up customs checks at borders in the event of the UK reverting to WTO rules, amongst other measures.
A poll released last month found that British voters would rather see a so-called hard Brexit from the European Union than a slower departure, or even not leaving at all, while another poll suggests over 75 per cent of people would prefer no deal rather than a bad one.