British PM warns of "catastrophe" in last minute plea for Brexit deal

Prime Minister Theresa May with Jeremy Hunt

Prime Minister Theresa May with Jeremy Hunt

At regular protests outside Parliament, where pro and anti-Brexit demonstrators have been a regular sight for months, far-right groups have targeted MPs and journalists - particularly those members of May's Conservative Party who are skeptical of Brexit or support holding another referendum.

Jeremy Corbyn has pledged Labour will call a no-confidence motion in Theresa May's government "soon", while again indicating that if he became prime minister he would prefer to negotiate his own Brexit deal rather than call a second referendum.

When you add these up with Labour's virtual mass rejection, the SNP and the DUP, it makes for grim reading at 10 Downing Street.

That appears to not be the case.

If Mrs May loses Tuesday's vote as expected, she must table a new plan by Monday.

Mr Hunt suggested that legally binding assurances from Brussels over the deal's controversial backstop arrangements should be enough to allay the fears of many MPs over the long-term impact of the agreement.

- The Prime Minister faced calls from a predecessor, Sir John Major, to revoke Article 50 to halt Brexit - as he warned it would be "morally reprehensible" to crash out without a deal.

May has to give parliament a statement on her next move within three parliamentary working days of the vote.

Parliament is deadlocked over how to proceed with Brexit, Britain's biggest shift in foreign and trade policy in more than 40 years, and is expected to vote against Mrs May's deal on Tuesday (Jan 15), plunging the departure from the European Union into deeper uncertainty.

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She will warn that trust in politicians will suffer "catastrophic harm" if they fail to implement the result of the referendum.

Mr Corbyn has said his party wants to have a general election, a possibility Mr Blackford said the SNP would be prepared for.

One official said the refusal of European Union leaders at a December summit to give May a 2021 deadline for the end of talks on a future trade deal was grounded in a belief that she had yet to offer a compelling vision that could get through parliament.

The prime minister has already postponed a House of Commons vote on her plan once - in December - to avoid defeat, and looks certain to see it rejected by MPs on Tuesday amid fierce opposition.

Asked whether she agreed with Mr Hunt that the United Kingdom can thrive after a no-deal Brexit, Ms Rudd told Today: "This is a strong and great country, we will find a way to succeed, but I do not think that no deal would be good for this country and I'm committed to making sure we find an alternative".

His comments follow reports of a plot to change Commons rules to enable backbench motions to take precedence over Government business if Mrs May's deal falls - which could threaten Brexit legislation and the Government's ability to govern.

"So those on the Brexiteer side seeking ideological purity with a deal are risking Brexit, because there is a growing risk that events could unfold in ways that (mean) they are leaving the door ajar to ways that increase the risk to Brexit".

Meanwhile, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay told the BBC's Andrew Marr show: "There are lots of different plans being put forward by Members of Parliament that don't respect the result (of the referendum) or risk no deal".

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