MPs are plotting to “steal Brexit from the British people”, the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said.
Fox believes there is a “real danger” a remain-majority parliament halts the UK’s exit from the bloc if, as seems likely, Theresa May’s withdrawal deal is voted down on Tuesday.
It comes after MPs inflicted defeat on the government on Tuesday night by throwing their weight behind a bid to give parliament more control over the Brexit process.
It means MPs can now table changes to Theresa May’s “plan B” Brexit and effectively instruct the PM on what to do next.
Appearing before the Commons’ International Trade Committee, Fox appealed to Brexiteer MPs to get behind May’s deal, adding: “I think that there is, as I have written recently, a real danger that the House of Commons, which has a natural remain majority, may attempt to steal Brexit from the British people.
“Which I think would be a democratic affront.”
Brexiteer Tory Nigel Evans, who sits on the committee, blasted May’s deal, telling Fox: “At the moment we can leave the European Union unilaterally. Once we sign the Withdrawal Agreement we can’t.
“So you understand that I have got more chance of winning Bake Off than the prime minister has of winning this vote on Tuesday with the colleagues I have spoken to?”
Fox went on to say he believes leaving the EU is better than staying in, and his preferred exit would be under May’s deal.
But asked by SNP committee chairman Angus MacNeil whether he prefers no-deal Brexit or staying in the EU in the event her deal is rejected by MPs, Fox refused to go “into the menu” of options.
The minister also attempted to address the controversial Northern Ireland customs backstop plan, which aims to avoid a hard border post-Brexit, saying it was “extremely unacceptable to all sides” and not just the UK.
He said: “Having talked to colleagues across Europe, their dislike for the concept of the backstop is stronger even than I had anticipated.
“And therefore I think there is a double incentive on both sides to never get there.
“I think it is a calculated risk because my assessment is that the worst possible outcome would be not to leave the European Union.”