Theresa May has said the UK is definitely leaving the EU – despite having claimed just minutes earlier Brexit might not happen.
The Prime Minister was asked by former Tory Cabinet minister Esther McVey during PMQs on Wednesday to confirm the UK would leave the EU on March 29, 2019 “come what may”.
May said: “I can give her the assurance that the UK will leave the EU on March 29, 2019.”
Just 20 minutes earlier, the PM had said “the alternative” to the deal she has struck with the EU would be “more division or it could risk no Brexit at all”.
This morning Amber Rudd, who replaced McVey in the Cabinet, said if MPs voted down the government’s proposal then “Brexiteers may lose their Brexit”.
And she told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that the Commons would “stop” a “no-deal” Brexit.
Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, also told the BBC today that if the deal was voted down there was a “serious danger of not leaving at all”.
The Prime Minister has previously repeatedly warned MPs that if they do not vote for her deal then the alternative is a no-deal Brexit.
Ahead of the expected Commons vote on the deal, Downing Street is attempting to persuade eurosceptic MPs that voting it down could risk no Brexit, at the same time as warning pro-EU MPs that opposing it risks a no-deal exit.
Speaking during PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn said the Commons would “rightly reject this bad deal”.
The Labour leader said if the government would not negotiate “an alternative” then it should “make way for those who can and will”.
May is under pressure from Tory Brexiteers to secure further concessions from the EU in a top-level Brussels meeting on Wednesday evening.
The Prime Minister will meet European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker for talks ahead of the special EU Brexit summit on Sunday, at which the remaining 27 member states are expected to approve her plan.
Brussels has indicated that the withdrawal agreement, setting out the terms of the UK’s divorce from the bloc, will not be rewritten – although work is ongoing to flesh out the political declaration on the future UK-EU relationship.
Large numbers of Conservatives, as well as the 10 DUP MPs who prop up May’s administration in the Commons, are threatening to vote down her deal.