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'It's time to take stock': Former Brexit secretary urges Theresa May to delay Brexit vote again

David Davis said that it was time for the UK “to take stock” ahead of the planned crucial vote.

May faces serious opposition to her proposed Brexit deal.
May faces serious opposition to her proposed Brexit deal.
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

UK PRIME MINISTER Theresa May has been urged to delay a crucial Brexit vote in the UK parliament, with a Conservative Party member and former Brexit secretary saying that they must “get it right”. 

Writing in the UK Daily Telegraph, former Brexit Secretary David Davis said that it was time for the UK “to take stock” ahead of the planned crucial vote. 

May faces the vote over the final deal for Britain leaving the EU later this month, after she delayed it in December when it became clear that MPs wouldn’t back the proposals she had secured in negotiations.

Parliament is set to begin debating proposals again on Monday after the Christmas break, with a vote set to be held sometime the following week.

It’s reported that May has been meeting with party members and the DUP over the Christmas break to try to drum up support for her deal. 

However, she is still facing a lot of resistance from both within her own party and from opposition figures, who are either advocating for a better deal to be negotiated before the crucial 29 March deadline, or for another referendum to be held.

As well as this, the Northern Irish DUP – who are propping up May’s government – have steadfastly refused to endorse any deal which includes a permanent backstop.

The backstop is the element of the Brexit deal which would see the UK remain in the customs union if a permanent solution is not reached over the issue of the Northern Ireland border. 

It is a sticking point for Ireland and EU negotiators, but is highly controversial in Britain and opposed by many MPs.

‘Decisive moment’ 

“Before we whip ourselves into another frenzy, perhaps it is time to take stock?” Davis wrote in The Telegraph. 

“I have always said that the EU would push and push until finally we reach a resolution at the eleventh hour.

Recent events only reinforce my analysis. Indeed, anybody who really understands how negotiations work understands that time is our friend.

Davis said that the EU was worried about the potential loss of a £39 billion “divorce payment” that will not be paid if no deal is reached. 

He said it was now the moment “to be hardnosed about these issues”.

“The more we prepare to leave the EU without a deal, the more likely a good deal becomes,” he said. 

He said that the current Withdrawal Agreement did not “respect the referendum result” and that Tory MPs must “remain committed” to delivering the result.

He said that the UK will leave the EU on 29 March, and that there is no “wiggle room” in this. 

“I appreciate we all want to get Brexit done and move on, but if we get it wrong, we are stuck with what is agreed and a bad deal will lead to more division and uncertainty,” he said.

Therefore, it is crucial that we get it right whenever the moment of reckoning comes – be it mid-January or later.

Davis resigned as Brexit secretary in July of last year after he said he no longer “believed” in the UK’s approach. 

Global 

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the UK could punch above its weight globally after it leaves the EU.

In a speech outlining Britain’s global role after Brexit, Hunt said his country would remain an influential global player independent of the EU, even as he warned that failure to reach a deal would “cause disruption that could last some time”.

“We are not a superpower and we do not have an empire,” he said.

But we do have the fifth biggest economy in the world, the second biggest military budget in NATO, the third biggest overseas aid budget, one of the two largest financial centres, highly effective intelligence services and a world class diplomatic network, including permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

With reporting from AFP

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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