Prime Minister Theresa May has defended her Brexit plan as the best for MPs’ constituents as she urged politicians to vote “in the national interest” when her deal goes to Parliament next month.
May warned that the country would not prosper if politicians did not unite around her plan, and said rebel Tory MPs would leave Britain divided if they went against her in the upcoming meaningful vote.
She said: “I am asking every MP to think about delivering on the Brexit vote, doing it in a way that’s in the national interest, doing it in a way that’s in the interests of their constituents because it protects the jobs and livelihoods of their constituents.”
May also ruled out a Norway-style Brexit as a ‘plan B’ if her deal fails to win votes in parliament on December 11.
The option, which is favoured by over a third of her cabinet as an alternative plan, would see Britain have full access to the single market and would prevent a hard Irish border.
But May said such an agreement would not deliver on the EU referendum vote as it would not end freedom of movement.
People are right to be distrustful, for there is an effort both to frighten and to gull them into acquiescing into a non-Brexit BrexitJacob Rees-Mogg
She said as she spoke to reporters on the plane to the G20 summit in Buenos Aires: “The the beginning of the negotiations with the EU, there were two options on the table, one was Norway and one was a Canada-style free trade agreement.
“The EU said there was nothing else available, but what you see in the [Brexit deal] is...a more ambitious free trade agreement than Canada, that ends free movement which Norway doesn’t do. So this is the deal that is right for the UK.”
It comes as one of May’s most vocal opponents, Jacob Rees-Mogg, wrote of a “crisis of trust in British institutions” as he blamed “broken promises” in May’s Withdrawal Agreement.
In a piece for The Telegraph, the Tory Brexiteer listed key points in May’s deal which he says contradict “clear policy”, warning that a loss of respect for British institutions could lead to a a rise in populist movements seen across Europe.
“The problem is that people are right to be distrustful, for there is an effort both to frighten and to gull them into acquiescing into a non-Brexit Brexit.”
“If only politicians could stick to their word and impartial institutions could stick to their jobs then democracy would flourish,” he added.
May faces potentially more awkward encounters in Buenos Aires with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as Russia’s Vladimir Putin following the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury and the seizure of Ukrainian ships.
Confirming that she intends to speak with the Crown Prince during the two-day summit, May said: “The message I give will be very clear. It is the message we have consistently given on this issue of Jamal Khashoggi and the issue of Yemen.
“In relation to Mr Khashoggi, we want to see a full and transparent investigation of what happened and those responsible being held to account.
“With the issue of Yemen, we continue to be deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation. The long-term solution for Yemen is a political solution, and we will be encouraging the parties to work for that political solution.”
May will use the gathering to push her “global Britain” message, telling fellow leaders that her Brexit deal will be good for the world economy.
After resuming its independent seat on the World Trade Organisation in April next year, the UK will become an active and leading voice in seeking reform of the body to increase transparency and modernise its approach to e-commerce, she will say.
May is the first serving Prime Minister to visit Buenos Aires and the second to come to Argentina, after Tony Blair crossed the border from Brazil in 2001.
Her visit marks an effort by the UK to increase trade links with Latin America after Brexit.