Theresa May's EU deal looks set to fall in the House of Commons next Tuesday | Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Theresa May doesn’t rule out delaying Commons Brexit vote
UK prime minister ducks questions about what her Plan B is if she loses the vote.
Updated 12/6/18, 10:44 AM CET
Theresa May left open the possibility of delaying a crunch vote in parliament on her Brexit deal next week.
Asked repeatedly in an interview with the BBC’s Today Program about reports that senior Cabinet colleagues are calling on her to delay a vote that she looks almost certain to lose — potentially by a large margin — May said she was sticking to her plan.
“We’re in the middle of five days of debate in parliament which will lead to a vote on this issue,” she said, adding, “I am leading up to a vote on Tuesday.” But she did not definitively rule out a postponement.
Over 100 of May’s own backbenchers have said they will vote against the deal, which took 20 months of painstaking negotiation to agree with Brussels.
The prime minister also confirmed that she was in talks with skeptical MPs about giving parliament a say on whether the U.K. enters the Northern Ireland backstop. This is an arrangement written into the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement that is designed to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.
“The backstop is an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement but the backstop would be an integral part of any Withdrawal Agreement and of any deal negotiated with the European Union,” the prime minister said.
May repeated that her intention was not to use the backstop,