Mrs May must give assurances she can achieve concessions on the controversial backstop arrangement or risk full-scale rejection of her deal, the International Trade Secretary warned. The former GP suggested Cabinet MPs would block the deal unless Mrs May gave solid assurances the Irish backstop can only be temporary. The ominous assessment came after the Prime Minister survived a vote of confidence in her leadership on Wednesday.
Dr Fox cautioned the deal could never be put to a Parliamentary vote.
He said: “It is very difficult to support the deal if we don’t get changes to the backstop.
“I am not even sure the Cabinet will agree for it to be put to the House of Commons.”
The so-called backstop arrangement is a way to deal with the complicated border question in Northern Ireland.
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During her speech to the nation yesterday Mrs May highlighted the Union between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK as one of the key elements she wanted to protect throughout the Brexit negotiations.
But the backstop plan could see Northern Ireland treated differently to the rest of the UK for an “indefinite” period, according to legal advice the Government was forced to publish last week.
The controversial proposal would effectively see Northern Ireland tied to EU restrictions, leaving the bloc as a rule taker.
Dr Fox gave a damning assessment of the potential options if “there is no movement on the backstop”, implying the UK may never leave the EU at all.
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The Brexit minister told the BBC: “If there is no movement on the backstop then it is very likely either one of two things happens.
“Either we remain in the EU without a referendum, which I think would be a democratic affront which brings a whole range of consequences, or perhaps more likely, we have to up our preparations for no deal and leave the EU without an agreed deal.”
The Prime Minister is due to recommence her crisis tour of Europe today, returning to Brussels to urge EU leaders to give her the guarantees she desperately needs to get her deal through the Commons.
She is due to address EU leaders at a summit.
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But her attempts to get the bloc on-side come after the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, warned there was no scope for reopening talks.
On Tuesday the Luxembourgish bureaucrat said: “The deal we have achieved is the best deal possible — it’s the only deal possible.
“There is no room whatsoever for renegotiation.”
The Prime Minister still has a significant mountain to climb if she is to convince the unswerving EU 27 to grant her any fresh compromises on her deal.
Source : EXPRESS