The European Union on Wednesday night unanimously agreed to offer Britain a new Brexit extension until October 31 after the Prime Minister repeatedly failed to have her withdrawal agreement pass through the Commons. Former Brexit Secretary David Davis denounced the decision to protract withdrawal talks for a further six months as he warned Theresa May of the “unbelievable” risk the Government has put British politics into. Speaking to LBC, Mr Davis said: “The price the political establishment would pay if we don’t deliver Brexit will be unbelievable.
“The price at the ballot box, the price in terms of reaction to politicians, in terms of respect for politicians.”
He continued: “We had the highest turn out in any election or democratic exercise in the referendum.
“People said it’s only 52 to 48 – you know what would have happened in that referendum if it had been a general election? It would have been a bigger majority than any Tony Blair landslide. That’s what it would have been.”
Mr Davis reiterated the best solution to ensure the withdrawal agreement is approved in the Commons is to secure a change to the Irish backstop included in the proposed deal.
Brexiteers have refused to support the deal over concern the insurance mechanism included in the text, which was devised to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, could be exploited to keep the UK inside the customs union and the single market.
Mr Davis continued: “My view is the only way this will get through is if she gets an amendment to the Northern Ireland arrangements – something instead of the backstop that keeps us in forever.
“She doesn’t show signs of doing that, in which case she’ll come back to put it to the House again and she will lose again.
“I voted for it twice and I don’t like the damn thing, it’s a terrible deal, but to get on to the next stage, to get on with the negotiations, to get on to the things that matter for the future trading relationship I voted for it.
“We’re going to be stuck in limbo for months.”
The six-month extension to October 31 was a compromise solution thrashed out by EU leaders after French President Emmanuel Macron dug-in against a longer delay lasting into 2020.
The deal quickly drew criticism from Tory Eurosceptics and prompted questions about how long Mrs May can stay in power.
ITV’s Robert Peston wrote: “Tory Brexiter ultras, in the European Research Group and in the Cabinet, will urge the PM to stay true to her refusal to countenance a delay beyond 30 June and prepare for a no-deal Brexit on 1 June.
“Presumably she will refuse, given that she – and all of us – know that a majority of MPs oppose a no-deal Brexit on that or any date, and will find a way to block it.
“So the more zealous Conservative Brexiters will flirt with the idea of evicting Theresa May immediately and replacing her with a prime minister who might somehow find a way to cancel the EU parliamentary elections, create a bona fide EU crisis and thus extricate the UK from the EU without a deal on 1 June.
Prominent Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, who also chairs the eurosceptic European Research Group, hit out at the extension of Article of 50, saying is “not a good idea” as he laid into the Prime Minister for going back on her way after she ruled out a Brexit delay.