The prime minister needs to pause on Brexit to get her house in order

PUBLISHED: 13:24 27 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:24 27 November 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons in London on Brexit. (Photograph: PA)

Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons in London on Brexit. (Photograph: PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Plaid Cymru’s Brexit spokesman HYWEL WILLIAMS is urging Theresa May to pause Brexit.

I’m writing this the day after asking the prime minister yet another question about Brexit.

She was reporting back to the House on the deal she has struck with the rest of the European Union over the weekend. She had few friends and even fewer supporters in the Chamber, with hundreds of MPs standing to put questions – many of them just hostile repeats of what had been said earlier.

I can see that Mrs May has put in a huge effort to reach this point. Those who said that getting a Brexit deal would be the easiest thing in the world have been proved wrong. Unfortunately, one of those who made this silly argument is Dr Liam Fox, the Trade Minister, who is still in her cabinet (just about – and for what sinister purpose who knows!).

But the point is, putting in a lot of hours is no guarantee of success. However much I might sympathize with the prime minister for her efforts, she just has not delivered the goods. And by now most people realize that, whatever wheeze is pulled, being outside the EU will make us worse off for many years – with no guarantee that eventually we will be better off either.

So, to get to the point of my question.

During the summer I discussed a particular matter of law with friendly MPs – could we just withdraw the letter saying we were leaving. And that without having to get permission from a bunch of Brussels bureaucrats. And then get back to where we were before – with all the opt-outs and special terms for Britain still in place.

Some of my Scottish friends took a case to the highest court in Edinburgh. I put in a sworn statement in support. The Scottish court said, we’ll have to get a final decision from the (current) highest court in Europe, the Court of Justice of the European Union - and off it went – or in fact did not. Because the government in London tried to stop a final decision, paying for the services of five top lawyers who sent in hundreds of pages of arguments against us. Last week the Supreme Court in London sent them packing.

So, I asked the prime minister, if they find in our favour, will she bring in a British Brexit pause, so she can have time to bring all sides in these islands together. And listening to the bawling and shouting in the Chamber today you could well see why this is needed!

But Mrs May said ‘No’.

I do think this is a mistake. One more shove will not get this mess sorted - as I suspect she will find when it comes to a vote in about two weeks’ time.

Then again, a British Brexit pause will still be there for her. So let’s hope she takes the chance then.

• Hywel Williams is MP for Arfon and is Plaid Cymru’s Brexit spokesperson

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