Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, issued a desperate appeal for support for her Brexit deal before a historic vote by MPs that is scheduled on Tuesday evening.
The embattled PM warned the members across the Commons that the eyes of history were on them as she attempted to salvage her deeply unpopular plan for how the United Kingdom should leave the European Union.
May spent the day warning that not supporting her deal could see Brexit impeded as the Remainers in parliament set out their plans to seize control of the discussions if the PM is defeated tonight.
In a meeting with her MPs that was held in Westminster, she urged her colleagues on the Conservative Party to reflect on the consequences that come with rejecting the deal. The party has been divided over Europe for more than 30 years.
MPs are set to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday, however, 24 hours ahead of the division it was believed that approximately 100 Tories were planning to force defeat on PM May.
In yet another speech in the Commons, May asked her critics to look again at the withdrawal agreement – despite accepting that assurances from the European Union over the temporary nature of the so-called backstop plan do not go far enough to meet the demands of many of its critics.
Pondering on the negotiated settlement, the Prime Minister stated: “No, it is not perfect, and yes, it is a compromise, but when the history books are written, people will look at the decision of this House tomorrow and ask: Did we deliver on the country’s vote to leave the European Union? Did we safeguard our economy, our security and our Union? Or did we let the British people down?”
Before her Commons statement, a joint letter from Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, and Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, was issued as part of a plan of both the Eurpean Union and Downing Street that aims to secure support for May’s Brexit deal.
The letter set out the reluctance of Brussels to invoke the backstop – which would see the United Kingdom following the rules and regulations if the European Union in order to prevent a hard border with Ireland – and reemphasised that it would not be a permanent arrangement post-Brexit.
Juncker and Tusk said that the promise to make sure that the backstop is only temporary does have “legal value” since they were part of the conclusions of December’s European Council.
However, there was no end date for the backstop or an option for the United Kingdom to leave it unilaterally – the measures called for by Brexiter Tories who worry of being locked in to the proposal.
The deputy leader of the DUP, Nigel Dodds, which props up May’s government in Westminster, was not convinced by the letter.
In a speech in the Commons, he stated: “So, five weeks since the Prime Minster pulled the vote saying there had to be legally binding assurance will she admit that nothing has fundamentally changed?”
He added: “That’s the reality, let’s not kid ourselves about that.”
The vote on the Brexit deal is scheduled take place at some point after 7pm on Tuesday.
If PM May loses the vote, the UK government will have to return to Parliament by the end of next Monday setting out what the plan B is.
Several groups of MPs are asking to amend that motion in an attempt to secure another referendum or allow the Parliament to dictate the future negotiating strategy.