British Prime Minister Theresa May warned lawmakers on Sunday that failing to deliver Brexit would be catastrophic for democracy, in a plea for support two days before parliament is expected to reject her deal with Brussels.
With the clock ticking down to its March 29 exit from the European Union, and parliament deadlocked, Britain faces a hugely uncertain path that could lead to a disorderly exit or even remaining in the bloc.
May, who postponed a vote in parliament on her deal in December after admitting she was set to lose it, said lawmakers must not let down the people who backed Brexit in a June 2016 referendum.
“Doing so would be a catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust in our democracy,” she wrote in the Sunday Express.
“So my message to Parliament this weekend is simple: it is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country.”
May has so far refused to retreat from her unpopular deal, which envisages close trading ties with the EU, but without any say on policy as Britain has now. The vexed Brexit issue represents Britain’s biggest shift in foreign and trade policy in more than 40 years.
May’s deal has come under fire from all sides — with opponents of the EU seeking a cleaner break and many pro-Europeans pressing for a second referendum. It is expected to suffer a big defeat when parliament votes on Tuesday.
Brexit minister Stephen Barclay told BBC TV that persuading enough lawmakers to support the deal would be “challenging” but that, even if it was rejected, he suspected parliament would ultimately support something “along the lines of this deal”.
Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said leaving the EU without a deal would be catastrophic and his party would do everything it could to prevent that outcome.
However, Corbyn’s priority is to force a national election and he said he would propose a vote of confidence in the government “soon” if May loses on Tuesday.
The Observer newspaper reported that military planners had been sent into several government departments to help with preparations for a no-deal Brexit.