Back May’s deal or risk losing Brexit, Hunt tells Tory MPs
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has issued a stark warning to Tory MPs they risk losing Brexit altogether if they fail to back Theresa May’s deal in the crunch Commons vote on Tuesday.
Mr Hunt said there was now “wind in the sails” of the opponents of Brexit and that it would be “devastating” for the Conservatives if they failed to deliver on their commitment to take Britain out of the EU.
His warning came after Brexiteer Tories and their DUP allies warned the Government was heading for an “inevitable” defeat on Tuesday unless it can secure last minute concessions from the EU on the Northern Ireland backstop.
But with little sign of a breakthrough in talks in Brussels, Mr Hunt said MPs could not “wish away the parliamentary arithmetic” and that any alternative to Mrs May’s deal agreed by the Commons was likely to be “less appealing” to Brexiteers.
“People worry about us being trapped in the customs union by the backdoor but we could end up in the customs union by the front door if we get this wrong,” he told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show.
“We have an opportunity now to leave on March 29 or shortly thereafter and it is very important we grasp that opportunity because there is wind in the sails of people trying to stop Brexit.
“If you want to stop Brexit you only need to do three things – kill this deal, get an extension and then have a second referendum.
“Within three weeks people could have two of those three things and quite possibly the third one could be on the way through the Labour Party. We’re in very perilous waters.”
Mr Hunt said that if Brexit was derailed, voters would hold the Conservatives responsible for failing to deliver on the outcome of the 2016 referendum.
“They are going to say there was a party that promised to deliver Brexit, we put them into Number 10 and they failed. The consequences for us as a party would be devastating,” he said.
“This is a very important moment for us. There is a risk and a possibility that we end up losing Brexit if we get the votes wrong in the next couple of weeks.”