Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary and a fundamental ally of Prime Minister Theresa May, said that he believes that the EU withdrawal agreement of the British PM will get through parliament despite the signs of a developing revolt.
By some estimates, more than a hundred Conservative MPs are preparing to vote against the withdrawal agreement of PM in parliament this week. It will likely pave the way for a crisis over how the United Kingdom proceeds with Brexit.
Gove stated: “I believe we can win the argument, and win the vote.”
He is a prominent campaigner of Brexit who was dismissed as the justice secretary when May became Prime Minister in 2016. He returned to the government as environment secretary after the General Election last year.
Since then, he has become one of the most reliable allies of the Prime Minister. He backed her in recent months even as many other pro-Brexit ministers resigned from the Cabinet in protest at the strategy of PM May for withdrawal.
In an interview on the Andrew Marr show of the BBC, Gove stated: “We should not make the perfect the enemy of the good,” warning that rejecting May’s agreement risked bringing about a no-deal Brexit, or causing the UK to remain in the EU.”
He added: “If we were to leave without a deal, I think we would undoubtedly go through a period of turbulence,” he said. “While it’s not as a bad as some have argued, it is economically, clearly, going to cause hurt.”
Gove noted: “There may be a majority for a second referendum in parliament,” if the deal collapses, saying that voting again could cause people to lose confidence in democracy.”
He conceded that the withdrawal agreement of May was not ideal. PM May’s withdrawal deal has provoked a series of resignations in the Cabinet.
He stated: “It’s not 100 per cent of what we wanted, but then we didn’t get 100 per cent of the vote on 23 June in 2016.”
PM May is facing heightening pressure as the MPs from across the major opposition parties are preparing to table a letter to John Bercow, the Commons speaker. They will be calling for the Prime Minister to be held in contempt on parliament if she is not able to publish the full legal advice on Brexit which was presented to the Cabinet by Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general.
The MPs say that the Prime Minister has not been able to comply with a binding parliamentary vote compelling it to release the advice of Cox.
That details of the guidance were published by the Sunday Times last Sunday. Reportedly, it says that the United Kingdom could be infinitely stuck with a backstop to prevent a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Gove proposed that the European Union would want to give the United Kingdom a better deal in order to avoid the backstop being sustained.
He stated: “However uncomfortable it is for the UK, it is more uncomfortable for the EU, because we will have tariff-free access to their markets.”
May returned from the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. She now faces an uphill battle to convince her own MPs to the merits of her Brexit deal. Sam Gyimah, the Universities and science minister, resigned from the government last Friday night over the handling of PM May of Brexit. He suggested that a second referendum may be necessary.