Addressing the Commons on Tuesday afternoon, the former Foreign Secretary warned the Prime Minister to “put her Brexit deal to bed” if MPs rejected her deal for a second time. The Tory MP urged Parliament to vote against a deal that will leave the UK “a protectorate” of the EU without any say in the bloc’s future legislative decisions.
He said:”We must take what now seems to be the more difficult route but in the end the one that preserves our self-respect.
“It is to leave on March 29th as required by law and to become once again an independent country able to make our own choices.
“I’m not in favour of crashing out as some have called it, as the ‘Malthouse compromise’ indicated the way forward; the UK observes single market rules, customs duties, we restrain our right to compete for a period of three years whilst we negotiate a free trade deal. I believe the EU would be open to this.
“If the EU is unwilling to accept the minor changes that we propose then we’ll leave without a deal.
“Yes I accept that that is the short term the more difficult road, but in the end, it’s the only safe route out of this and the only safe path to self-respect.
“Or we can decide to take a route that will end in humiliation, accepting arrangements with the EU which seem to limit disruptions in the short term but will leave us as an EU protectorate with many important rules set elsewhere.”
Theresa May’s divorce deal from the European Union will be voted on for a second time this evening.
Mrs May suffered a historic defeat in the Commons the first time she tried to have her Brexit deal passed, with 432 MPs rejecting it and only 202 backing the agreement.
On Monday night, the Prime Minister took a flight to Strasbourg to look into whether there could be any last-minute changes to her controversial deal.
After meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Mrs May said a series of amendments had been made.
Three fresh documents were unveiled last night with the Prime Minister saying the changes should satisfy Parliament’s concerns because it provides “legally binding” changes, such as allowing the UK to complain to an independent arbitrator and exit the backstop if the EU sought to “trap” it.
Britain’s leader also claimed the UK could unilaterally leave the backstop if talks on a future relationship broke down.
Mr Juncker made it clear there will be no further negotiations on the exit deal and if the agreement doesn’t pass in the Commons tonight there will be no “third chance”.
However, her deal has now been dealt a blow by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox after he admitted the legal risk on the Irish backstop “remains unchanged”.
Mr Cox said the Prime Minister’s revised divorce deal from the EU had not given Britain legal means of exiting the Irish backstop arrangement unilaterally if “intractable differences”.
This letter came out just hours before a Commons vote is due at 7pm tonight – followed by a letter from Jacob Rees Mogg’s ERG group, which called on MPs not to back the deal.