Theresa May’s Brexit pitch ‘is a betrayal of the country’

Theresa May giving a statement to MPs in the House of Commons. Photograph: PA Wire.

Theresa May giving a statement to MPs in the House of Commons. Photograph: PA Wire.

Theresa May has been criticised of betraying the country as she prepares to make a pitch to the House of Commons for a “better future outside the EU”.

The prime minister faces widespread opposition from MPs across the Commons - including both the Leave and Remain wings of her own party - ahead of the vote on the deal, due to take place on December 11.

At the start of five days of debate in the Commons, May will stress the need to respect the result of the 2016 referendum and suggest that backing her deal will help reunite a divided nation.

Over the coming days she will deploy cabinet ministers to make the case, including Liam Fox, Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid.

May is expected to say that the “pooling of sovereignty” of the kind involved in European Union membership “can only be sustained with the consent of the people”.

“In the referendum of 2016, the biggest democratic exercise in our history, the British public withdrew that consent,” she will say.

“They confirmed that choice a year later by voting overwhelmingly for parties that committed to delivering Brexit.”

She will say that to respect the referendum would require “a Brexit that takes back control of our borders, laws and money” and “a Brexit that sets ourselves on course for a better future outside the EU, as a globally trading nation, in charge of our own destiny and seizing the opportunities of trade with some of the fastest-growing and most dynamic economies across the world”.

The prime minister will assert that her Brexit deal, thrashed out with the European Union over months of negotiations in Brussels, delivers on her commitments to end free movement and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

It will also ultimately result in “a new free trade area with no tariffs, fees, quantitative restrictions or rules of origin checks - an unprecedented economic relationship that no other major economy has”.

She will tell MPs: “It means jobs protected. Citizens’ rights protected. The integrity of our United Kingdom protected. The sovereignty of Gibraltar protected.

“Our security protected - with the broadest security partnership in the EU’s history, working together with our friends and neighbours to keep all our people safe.

“The British people 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.

The prime minister’s Brexit pitch has been branded a “betrayal of the British people”.

David Lammy, Best for Britain champion, said: “Theresa May knows full well that the deal surrenders our sovereignty after negotiations resembling a democratic fire sale.

“The deal being debated makes Britain poorer, less secure and without a veto over laws that will govern us for generations to come.

“This is a bad deal, filled with compromises that weaken our country and don’t serve the interests of the British public.

“To protect our democracy and restore sanity in politics, the public must be given the final say over Brexit.”

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