Brexit could be abandoned entirely if MPs vote down Theresa May’s deal for a fourth time next month, one of the cabinet’s leading Leave advocates has warned.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox urged MPs to “carry out their part of the bargain” which was struck with voters when the they backed a referendum in 2016 and vote to ensure the UK leaves the EU.
Speaking at an event by the Institute of Government think tank, Fox said failure to pass May’s deal when it comes back to parliament during the week commencing 3 June could see the UK leave the EU without an agreement, or Article 50 revoked and Brexit cancelled.
Fox said: “Members of Parliament will need to look and see whether they want to continue down a path which inexorably takes us either to the potential of revocation of Article 50 or leaving without a deal and asking if they think that is the best course?”
His warning was echoed by Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay, who told a Lords committee May’s deal would be “dead” if rejected for a fourth time.
Speaking to the Lords' European Union select committee, Barclay said: "I think if the House of Commons does not approve the WAB [Withdrawal Act Bill], then the Barnier deal is dead in that form and I think the House will have to then address a much more fundamental question between whether it will pursue… a no-deal option or whether it will revoke."
Downing Street has vowed to bring the Bill to MPs regardless of whether she strikes a deal with Labour.
Jeremy Corbyn told May on Tuesday evening his party would not support her withdrawal agreement in its current form, but a party spokesman on Wednesday repeatedly refused to rule out Labour MPs abstaining on the vote.
That could see the Bill progress to committee stage, where MPs would be able to table amendments in order to substantially change May’s Brexit plan.