UK PM May: Getting rid of me risks delaying Brexit

Elias Hubbard
November 18, 2018

Theresa May has faced heavy criticism from all parties after publishing the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

"Those who don't think the prime minister's deal is the right way to go have now a responsibility to come together and coalesce around an alternative", the Scottish nationalist leader told BBC television.

She told Sky News television she was "absolutely determined to support the PM in getting the best possible deal for the United Kingdom as we leave the EU".

Demonstrators hold placards in London on Friday.

Mrs May herself will personally oversee the last 10 days of negotiations with the European Union on the future framework of relations, while Mr Barclay will focus on the domestic readiness for Brexit and getting Mrs May's draft withdrawal agreement through parliament.

Express.co.uk carried out an online "People's Poll" after the publication of the draft agreement, showing only 6,880 respondents would support the deal while 2,592 said they were unsure.

At least 48 Conservative MPs are required to submit letters of no confidence in the party leader to trigger a vote, and 23 have publicly confirmed they had done so.

Pressed on whether the 48-letter limit had been reached, Mrs May said: "As far as I know, no".

May's deal will now be put to a series of regional and domestic tests.

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, one of May's chief allies, predicted that "if it does come to a challenge, the prime minister will win handsomely".

She insists the plan is the only viable option for the country.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey quit Thursday, saying they could not support the agreement.

'It gives us a framework to work with and is still better than no deal at all'.

Why is securing support for the proposed deal proving hard?

May replaced Raab and McVey on Friday with two lawmakers with track records of loyalty.

But May's Cabinet still contains tensions and potential fissures.

She appealed directly to voters Friday by answering questions on a radio call-in show. It was not an easy ride.

Mr Raab last night hit out at Theresa May, saying she has failed to stand up to a bullying European Union over the Brexit deal.

When asked about the abuses hurled at her, May said: "It doesn't distract me". However, if push came to shove, there would probably be room for at least some European Union flexibility in order to avoid a damaging no-deal Brexit.

Meanwhile the Confederation of British Industry, the main business lobby group, said the deal was not ideal but a compromise that "takes no deal off the table" and opens the path to frictionless trade in the future, said CBI chief Carolyn Fairbairn. In a letter to May she wrote that "It will be no good trying to pretend to [voters] that this deal honors the result of the referendum when it is obvious to everyone it doesn't".

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood, a Government loyalist and MP for Bournemouth East, said: "I fully recognise the call for a people's vote in relation to honouring the will of the people, which may well be different now than it was in 2016". "A deal is only a deal if both sides of the channel agree to it", he said. "If that will happen, imagine what will happen if we start seeing food or medical supply shortages". "For the first time in a generation or more we will decide who comes to this country and, just as importantly, who does not", the defiant prime minister said. "If you start trying to amend it or unthink it, you might find that the whole thing unravels".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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