May: Trust in Parliament Will Collapse to ‘All-Time Low’ if Brexit Cancelled

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May gives a speech at a factory in Stoke-on-Trent to call on MP's to support her Brexit bill on January 14, 2019. - Prime Minister Theresa May ramped up warnings to MPs poised to reject her EU divorce deal that failing to deliver Brexit would be …
BEN BIRCHALL/AFP/Getty

Theresa May has claimed she will deliver Brexit in the House of Commons, as doing otherwise would result in the British people’s faith in the country’s institutions to fall to “an all-time low”.

During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday afternoon, Conservative MP Helen Grant asked Mrs May, “Does the Prime Minister agree with me that if we fail to deliver on Brexit the public perception of politicians in this country be at an all-time low?”

“I absolutely agree with my Honourable Friend, and this is so important,” the Prime Minister replied.

“I believe that if we fail to deliver on what the British people instructed us to do in the vote of the referendum that the views of the British people of this House, of this Parliament, and of politicians will be at an all-time low, because they will have lost faith in politicians across the whole of this Parliament,” she warned.

“We need to deliver Brexit for the British people.”

The Prime Minister suffered a historic loss on Tuesday in the vote on her EU Withdrawal Agreement, with the Opposition tabling a vote of no confidence in the Government in the aftermath.

This has been scheduled for Wednesday evening, with Remainers taking the opportunity to pile pressure on the House of Commons to force a second referendum, pause, or even stop Brexit altogether before exit day on March 29th.

After so publicly committing to not holding a second referendum in her answer to Ms Grant, the Prime Minister appeared to bat back attempts by europhiles to pause Article 50 — the EU treaty mechanism for leaving the bloc which is currently active and counting down to exit day.

Tory arch-Remainer Ken Clarke asked the Prime Minister whether she would consider extending Article 50.

Taking to the despatch box again, Mrs May said: “He talks about the possible extension of Article 50 —  of course Article 50 cannot be extended by the UK [unilaterally], it has to be extended in agreement with the EU.

“The Government’s policy is that we are leaving the EU on the 29th of March. But the EU would only extend Article 50 if actually it was clear that there was a plan moving towards an agreed deal.”

A temporary revocation of Article 50 had also been ruled out by EU judges in early December.

“The revocation… must be unequivocal and unconditional, that is to say that the purpose of that revocation is to confirm the EU membership of the member state,” the overseas court declared.

“The EU is not stupid. If Britain wants to revoke then the European Council will want a clear commitment, in good faith, that it is going to remain in the EU,” remarked a senior official quoted by The Times.

Put simply, while the EU court has ruled that Britain can revoke Article 50, it cannot revoke and then re-invoke it in order to buy more time for negotiation — revocation must mean confirming Britain’s status as an EU member-state for the foreseeable future.

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