Just two days before MPs are due to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit agreement and just months before Britain is due to leave the EU, the former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and the Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, have both claimed in tv interviews this morning, that they could renegotiate a last-minute deal and ditch the Northern Ireland backstop.
This shows a worrying lack of realism about the situation facing the UK.
Labour’s Angela Smith, MP for Sheffield Hillsborough and a People’s Vote supporter, said:
“The Government seemingly has no plan for how to proceed if it can’t get its deal through Parliament. And both the Labour frontbench and the hard Brexiters in the Conservative party are peddling fantasies about how they could negotiate a ‘better’ Brexit deal that doesn’t include a backstop.
“It’s time for all MPs - from all political parties - to be more straight with the public. The problem is not that the Government haven’t “tried hard enough or worked hard enough” to get a good deal, as Boris Johnson claims. Nor is the problem something that could be fixed by a change of approach or a new Labour government seeking to renegotiate the whole thing.
“The problem is Brexit itself. The promises made about Brexit are being broken not because the Government is refusing to keep them, but because they can’t be kept.
“Now we know what Brexit looks like, it should be put to the public in a People’s Vote.”
Meanwhile, the former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine is among leading politicians and public figures who will speak at the People’s Vote rally, organised with Best For Britain, to be held at the Excel Centre in East London, later today.
In a message to those who claim the campaign for a People’s Vote was ‘letting Britain down’, Heseltine will call the People’s Vote campaigners “the British patriots.”
In a final call to MPs to reject the deal, Heseltine will say:
“No one can predict the events of next week. Every news bulletin, every headline, every leak tells us of a government that has lost control. These are the first promising signs that a growing number of members of the House of Commons are prepared to assert the authority and sovereignty of that place.
“Our country’s future depends on their judgement and will. They must act in the national interest. Their conclusions must be put back to the people for their endorsement.”
Lord Heseltine is among a range of speakers who will call on MPs to reject the deal and campaign instead for a People’s Vote. Other speakers at the event will include Anna Soubry MP, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable MP, Green Party’s Caroline Lucas and Labour MP Luciana Berger.
The rally to be held in London’s Docklands will also feature appearances from the actors Charles Dance and Jason Isaacs.
Caroline Lucas is expected to say:
"Forty-eight hours from the most momentous vote in modern times, parliamentarians must listen to their constituents, local businesses and their own consciences and vote down this bad deal.
"This deal is bad for Britain, bad for future generations. It will turn back the clock and wind up the drawbridge. It will do nothing to tackle the grotesque inequality which contributed to the vote to leave.
"Brexit has been a national nightmare and it is time to end it. On Tuesday we must stand up, be counted, vote down this bad Brexit deal, and give the people the final say on what happens next.”
Notes to editors:
Speakers at the rally, which starts at 1400Hrs at the Excel Centre, will include:
- Matt Forde
- Eddie Marsan
- Anna Soubry MP
- Vince Cable MP
- Mary Creagh MP
- Adam Price
- Jason Isaacs
- Dr Philip Lee MP
- Caroline Lucas MP
- Luciana Berger MP
- Lord Heseltine
- Charles Dance
- Poppy Wolfarth, FFS supporter & National Society of Apprentices.