Theresa May has warned MPs that rejecting her Brexit deal would constitute “a pointless effort to run away from reality” and suggested that sooner or later Britain would have to accept a similar solution to the one she’s negotiated.
The message came in a major speech to the Conservative Friends of Israel’s annual lunch, 90 minutes before she was due to address Parliament on the issue. With more than 200 parliamentarians among the guests it was seen as a last-ditch effort to sell her plan to colleagues, amid concerns of a major rebellion if a vote goes ahead tomorrow.
Insisting she had achieved the best possible deal, the prime minister warned: “If the deal is rejected, none other will miraculously appear. The choice will be between no Brexit at all and no deal Brexit. One would betray our democracy and the other would hurt our economy. So instead we are trying to achieve a deal that would bring people back together, honours he referendum and works for our economy and security. A Brexit that has the consent of the whole nation and will have to be one that will have to be one built on compromise. I have always known, it might be difficult, but I’ve always believed it is still possible and I believe it still is.”
She insisted those who want to see the result of the referendum honoured face a decision on whether to get behind the deal and “leave the EU in March without disruption and get straight on with making a success of Brexit and focus once again on many important issues facing our nation. Or will we let this opportunity slip through our fingers, risking Brexit being stopped in its tracks, by those who seek that outcome. Or going ahead in a disorderly way, without a deal.
“If the latter, I believe we would eventually find ourselves back where we are today, with a negotiated deal much like this one; sooner or later only we’d wasted years in a pointless effort to run away from reality and thrown away a golden opportunity to start building a brighter future that our people deserve.”
May received a lengthy standing ovation after the speech from the 800-strong guests.