Theresa May finally admits what we all knew - the UK is in crisis
PUBLISHED: 15:48 19 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:58 19 March 2019
After months of insisting nothing had changed, the government has finally admitted that the country is in crisis.
The prime minister’s spokesman said May had made clear if her deal was voted down in the second “meaningful vote” - as happened last week - they would be “in crisis”.
Today he said events on Monday suggested “that situation has come to pass”.
It comes amid reports of a chaotic Cabinet meeting in Downing Street during which the PM insisted she wanted MPs to have yet another vote on her twice-rejected withdrawal agreement “as soon as possible”.
The Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom is understood to have told the meeting: “This used to be the Cabinet that would deliver Brexit and now from what I’m hearing it’s not.”
Labour MP Gareth Thomas, a supporter of the anti-Brexit Best for Britain campaign, said: “The government have finally woken up to what the country has known for months.
“The UK faces a crisis of its own making.”
Speaker John Bercow provoked uproar at Westminster yesterday when he ruled that the government could not bring the prime minister’s deal back for a third “meaningful vote” unless there were substantial changes.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “What you can see from the prime minister and her colleagues is an absolute determination to find a way in which Parliament could vote for the UK to leave the European Union with a deal.
“The prime minister has been very clear throughout that she wants that to happen as soon as possible.”
The spokesman said that May would now be writing to European Council president Donald Tusk ahead of Thursday’s EU summit in Brussels in relation to an extension of the Article 50 withdrawal process.
The prime minister previously said if the deal was defeated in last week’s vote there would have to be an extended delay to Brexit, with the UK staging elections to the European Parliament in May.
But the spokesman said: “She has said in the House of Commons that she does not want there to be a long delay and that she believes asking the British public to take part in European elections three years after they voted to leave the EU would represent a failure by politicians.”
Downing Street confirmed discussions were continuing with the Democratic Unionist Party - which props up the government at Westminster - in an effort to build support for the deal after last week’s 149-vote defeat.
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson - one of the most strident opponents of the Withdrawal Agreement - was also seen entering the Cabinet Office for talks.
The prime minister’s spokesman said: “She is speaking with and having meetings with colleagues and a lot of those meetings have been focused on Brexit.”
Best for Britain supporter Gareth Thomas said: “The prime minister’s deal has been rejected twice, both times by historic margins. Trying to bash people over the head with that deal won’t convince them it’s in the national interest and is no way to govern a country.
“Meanwhile we face the threat of a no deal cliff-edge that the government, astoundingly, voted to keep. While that was defeated, the threat of its coming back in the future continues to put businesses off creating jobs in this country and risks crippling our public services.
“That’s a crisis. We need to extend Article 50 and provide time for the only credible solution to this Brexit mess - a public vote.”