Theresa May has come out fighting after attempts to topple her, warning that Brexit could be cancelled
Sunday - 18/11/2018 16:18
British PM Theresa May has pushed back against rebel MPs in a last-ditch attempt to get her Brexit deal through - flagging a once unthinkable option.
Theresa May has insisted she never considered resigning despite facing a coup from dozens of her own MPs furious about her Brexit deal.
She warned the plotters they risk Britain’s future — claiming that if she gets toppled, the country may never end up leaving the EU.
According to The Sun, the British PM admitted she’d endured a “tough week”.
“These negotiations have been tough right from the start but they were always going to get even more difficult right toward the end.”
And she predicted another tricky week ahead, telling Sky News: “These seven days are going to be critical.”
But asked if she had been tempted to resign after the events of the last few days — when two Cabinet ministers quit and rebel MPs launched a bid to force her out — she replied: “No I haven’t.”
In her Sky News interview, Mrs May called on her Tory backbenchers to scrap their attempt to get a new leader.
“A change of leadership at this point isn’t going to make the negotiations any easier and it won’t change the parliamentary arithmetic,” she said.
“What it will do is bring in a degree of uncertainty. That is uncertainty for people and their jobs.
“What it will do is mean that it is a risk that we delay the negotiations and that is a risk that Brexit gets delayed or frustrated.”
The PM then said she had spoken to Graham Brady, the backbench chief who would be in charge of any possible leadership election.
Sir Graham reportedly confirmed to her that he hasn’t received enough letters from MPs to trigger a vote of confidence.
Mrs May will travel to Brussels in the coming days for talks with president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, in a last-minute bid to thrash out tweaks to the withdrawal agreement.
“There is indeed more negotiation taking place and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” she said.
But she added that it would be impossible to rip up the deal and start again — as demanded by a group of Brexiteer ministers.
Instead, Mrs May claimed voting down her deal would be more likely to lead to a second referendum, saying: “There are those in the House of Commons who just want to stop Brexit.
“I believe it is essential for people’s trust in politics and people’s trust in parliament that we deliver Brexit.”
Mrs May is defying her Tory rivals, insisting her Brexit plan is the only one available.
Dominic Raab, who quit the Cabinet on Thursday, claimed he still backs the PM — but it was seen by Westminster insiders as a veiled leadership bid as he vowed to oppose the “fatally flawed” Brexit deal.
The ex-Brexit Secretary said: “I do think we are being bullied, I do think we are being subjected to what is pretty close to blackmail frankly.”
Asked if he believed the deal was worth the £39 billion ($A68 billion) “divorce bill”, Mr Raab gave a simple “no”.
But he called on fellow MPs not to launch a challenge to Mrs May, saying: “I will support this Prime Minister and I want her to get this right.”
Mr Raab claimed a confidence vote would be “a total distraction from what we need to do”.
He is seen by Brexiteers as one of the top candidates to take over as PM if Mrs May is forced out.
Tory bosses are believed to be so worried about the Government collapsing that they are readying plans for a snap General Election to take place within weeks.
A new survey conducted on behalf of pro-EU campaign Best for Britain suggests just 10 per cent of voters think the PM’s Brexit deal would benefit them and their families.
But Mrs May received a boost from a separate poll of Tory councillors, who said by a large margin that they want her to win any possible vote of confidence in her leadership.
In The Sun on Sunday, the PM wrote “After two years of hard work, we are now arriving at what I firmly believe is the right deal for Britain.
“If MPs reject the deal, they will simply take us back to square one. It would mean more division, more uncertainty and a failure to deliver on the vote of the British people.
“There is no alternative plan on the table. There is no different approach that we could agree with the EU. The course I have set is the right one for our country and the only one that will work.”
The PM faces another crunch week after enduring the trickiest few days of her time in power so far.
Mrs May is scheduled to attend an emergency summit in Brussels where EU leaders are expected to sign off on the withdrawal agreement.
This story first appeared in The Sunand is republished with permission.