Theresa May into the final week of her bid to save Brexit deal
Theresa May will kick off the biggest gamble of her political life as she fights to persuade MPs to back her Brexit deal.
Facing down Labour, Conservative and DUP critics, the prime minister will insist the House of Commons must vote for her agreement to “respect the decision of the British people”.
Mrs May is due to kick off a marathon five-day debate on the terms of Brexit, culminating in a series of dramatic votes next Tuesday.
The fate of those will determine if her Brexit deal succeeds, whether the UK could be headed for no deal, a second referendum, or even a general election.
Speaking at the opening of the first day’s debate, Mrs May will hail the 2016 referendum result to leave the EU has “the biggest democratic exercise in our history”.
She is expected to say: “To deliver on that vote, we need to deliver a Brexit that respects the decision of the British people – a Brexit that takes back control of our borders, laws and money.”
Mrs May will add that Britons “want us to get on with a deal that honours the referendum and allows us to come together again as a country, whichever way we voted”.
And she will insist: “This is the deal that delivers for the British people.”
Her comments will come after MPs vote on whether to hold ministers in “contempt of parliament” for refusing to publish the full legal advice given to the government on its Brexit deal.
On Monday, the attorney general refused to, saying it was not in the “public interest”.
And he said a 52-page summary provided a “detailed legal commentary… produced with my oversight and approval”.
But six political parties – Labour, the DUP, SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cyrmu and Greens – said an earlier vote calling for the full advice to be published is not being honoured.
Commons Speaker John Bercow declared that after “considering the matter carefully”, there is an “arguable case” that the government is in contempt.
It will only increase attention on the chamber for Mrs May’s appearance, setting the scene for one of the most historic moments ever in parliament.
Sky News data-crunching signals she will fall short of the 320 MPs she needs to win the vote on 11 December, with some 399 MPs set to reject or abstain on the Withdrawal Agreement meaningful vote.
Mrs May’s appearance in the Commons on Tuesday will coincide with a presentation at the European Court of Justice, which is hearing a claim by a cross-party group of Scottish MPs, MSPs and MEPs that Westminster politicians could reverse Article 50 – the clause that initiated Brexit – without the consent of the 27 other EU member states.