Brexit could be on the brink of being postponed.
Three senior UK ministers have issued a warning to Theresa May that Britain’s departure from the European Union should be delayed if there is no breakthrough on her deal in the next few days.
Writing in the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, cabinet members Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark signaled they would support a vote in Parliament to have the Article 50 process extended in order to prevent Britain leaving the EU without a deal.
“If there is no breakthrough in the coming week, the balance of opinion in Parliament is clear – that it would be better to seek to extend Article 50 and delay our date of departure rather than crash out of the European Union on March 29,” the trio wrote in the article published Saturday.
They added that if a parliamentary compromise is not found soon, there won’t be enough time to agree a deal and pass legislation before March 29, the date when Britain is set to exit the bloc.
The senior ministers’ warning comes just days after three Conservative lawmakers quit the party over what they called Theresa May’s “disastrous” handling of Brexit, and the Conservative party’s shift to the right. They joined eight former members of the opposition Labour party who quit a few days earlier. The former Labour MPs left their party in part over its handling of Brexit, but also the wave of anti-Semitism that has engulfed it.
In their article, the Conservative ministers warned that economy, national security, and peace in Northern Ireland would be compromised in the case of a no-deal Brexit, and added the scenario would risk inflaming the nationalist sentiment in Scotland.
“Far from Brexit resulting in a newly independent United Kingdom, stepping boldly into the wider world, crashing out on March 29 would see us poorer, less secure and potentially splitting up,” they write.
Rudd, Clark and Gauke also cautioned members of the European Research Group (ERG), a Parliamentary alliance whose members advocate for a no-deal Brexit and have previously voted down May’s deal, that their lack of cooperation would be responsible for a postponement in the Brexit process.
“It is time that many of our Conservative parliamentary colleagues in the ERG recognized that Parliament will stop a disastrous No Deal Brexit on March 29. If that happens, they will have no one to blame but themselves for delaying Brexit,” they wrote.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly rejected extending Article 50 – the legal process under which an EU member state can leave – and refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit.
The UK Parliament is due to debate the divorce again on Wednesday when May is expected to update lawmakers on any progress made in talks with European counterparts on the divisive issue of the Northern Irish backstop.
This weekend she will meet European Council President Donald Tusk on the margins of the EU-League of Arab States Summit in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.