UK Prime Minister Theresa May has been warned that rebels inside her own party could bring down her government if they don’t like the final Brexit deal she negotiates with the EU.
Pro-EU former attorney general Dominic Grieve said he had sleepless nights
worrying about the choice facing Parliament when May reaches an agreement with the bloc on terms of the divorce. He said he and other Conservatives won’t support a plan that’s bad for the country and urged May to give them options when she puts the Brexit deal to Parliament for approval.
“We could collapse the government,” Grieve told the BBC as he discussed the potential impact of voting down May’s final deal. “I wake up at 2 am in a cold sweat thinking about the problems that we have put on our shoulders. The difficulty is that the Brexit process is inherently risky — really risky.”
May says the House of Commons will get a straight choice between accepting the accord or rejecting it, possibly forcing the UK to crash out of the EU with no deal. She’s locked in a battle with Grieve, who wants Parliament to have the option of sending her back to the negotiating table if the terms of the final agreement aren’t good enough.
Grieve’s intervention comes as May seeks to regain the political initiative amid mounting pressure from multiple sides. Rival factions in her divided party are feuding over the country’s future ties to the EU, while negotiations in Brussels are making slow progress as the clock ticks down towards the UK’s exit in late March.
Pro-Brexit lawmakers are privately threatening to topple May if she fails to give them the clean split they want. On Monday, she faces a showdown in the House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber of the Parliament. Grieve’s pro-EU backers there are planning to rewrite her draft Brexit law to give Parliament more influence if the UK fails to reach a deal. If May loses the vote on Grieve’s plan, there will be another fight in the House of Commons. Speaking to BBC television, Solicitor General Robert Buckland said there will be no compromise before Monday’s vote, but hinted talks could take place on Tuesday.
May trumpeted her euroskeptic credentials in comments designed to shore up her support among Brexit backers who fear she’ll betray their dream. She spoke of a “bright future” for the UK outside the EU, as she insisted she won’t let Grieve stop Brexit.