Former Conservative party leader Lord Hague has warned Brexiteers that if Theresa May’s deal does not get the support of the Commons that it may lead to no Brexit at all.
He said that by voting down the prime minister’s plan it could bring down the government and increase support for a People’s Vote.
He told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘If you are those sceptics, the ardent Brexiteers, what you have to really worry about here is that if you don’t take this opportunity to leave the EU, to get Brexit over the line, you might never leave at all.
‘There is that point of view represented by [former transport minister] Jo Johnson who resigned the other day… that the better alternative is to have a second referendum and that would mean of course deferring leaving next year.
‘It would probably mean a different government, incidentally, and it would mean taking the next year over having another referendum that might not resolve matters but Brexit might never happen at all.’
Hague also said with Brexit there would have to be compromises whatever the plan.
He was ridiculed on social media when he asked: ‘Did anyone really think we could leave the EU without having to make some compromises?’
Hague added that a fresh referendum would be ‘the most divisive and bitter political conflict in this country in 100 years, and very economically damaging’.
And he levelled a warning directly at the DUP that failing to back a deal in a Parliamentary vote because they did not like ‘the details’ could backfire on them.
He said: ‘In the scenario you paint where the DUP refused to vote for it, where there isn’t a majority in Parliament, it could go either way. You either get a no-deal Brexit or you get no Brexit at all.
‘Those are not attractive alternatives to the combination of benefits … from supporting what the PM has achieved on this.
‘For the DUP, for Jeffrey Donaldson and the DUP, they advocated leaving the EU, they also have to face up to the fact that if they vote down a deal because they are not happy with the details, well, the consequences may be that Brexit never happens.’