Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell urges Theresa May to delay Brexit

Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell urges Theresa May to delay Brexit

Birmingham Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell has urged Theresa May to delay Brexit.

Mr Mitchell, MP for Sutton Coldfield, said it was clear MPs were not going to approve the Prime Minister’s proposed Brexit withdrawal agreement.

And he said she should extend Article 50 – which means delaying Brexit – to ensure the UK doesn’t end up leaving the EU without any deal at all.

“It is clear, is it not, that the deal which she has so assiduously negotiated is most unlikely to secure the support of this House of Commons?

“In these circumstances does she not think it would be wiser to seek an extension to Article 50 rather than to leave with no deal?”

But the PM disagreed, saying: “I don’t think it’s right to be seeking that extension to Article 50.”

“I continue to believe we can leave with a good deal and that this is it.”

Brexit is currently due to take place on March 29 next year.

Julian Knight, Conservative MP for Solihull, disagreed with Mr Mitchell. He said on Twitter: “Andrew has good reason to make this call but ultimately all it would do is delay the moment of decision.”

Mrs May vowed to let Parliament make a decision about her Brexit deal in the week beginning January 14.

Andrew Mitchell

And she ruled out holding a People’s Vote or second referendum on Brexit, despite reports that some of her own Cabinet Ministers have been discussing the idea.

It means the “meaningful vote” on her Brexit deal will take place on Monday January 14 or the days immediately following.

The Prime Minister said: “It is now only just over 14 weeks until the UK leaves the EU. And I know many Members of this House are concerned that we need to take a decision soon.”

Mrs May has been negotiating with EU leaders in an attempt to win changes that might convince MPs to support the deal. However, there has been no sign that the European Union is willing to make any concessions.

There is particular opposition to the proposed “backstop”, which is designed to prevent a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Many MPs fear this could lead to the UK being forced into a permanent customs union with the EU, which would mean it is forced to obey rules it has no control over.

Mrs May insisted she had made progress in her negotiations, but admitted there was more to do.

She said: “I understand that. And I want us to go further still in the reassurances we secure.”

And she ruled out the idea of holding second Brexit referendum, saying: “Another vote which would do irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics, because it would say to millions who trusted in democracy, that our democracy does not deliver.”

Labour had told the media that party leader Jeremy Corbyn would announce plans to table a vote of no confidence in Theresa May. However, following her statement, Labour changed its plans and no vote was tabled.

Mr Corbyn told the House of Commons: “The deal is unchanged and not going to change. This House must get on with the vote and move on to consider the realistic alternatives.”

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