Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay says PM’s deal is ‘dead’ if bill fails

The prime minister’s Brexit deal will be “dead” if the withdrawal bill does not pass in the Commons in June, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has said.

Mr Barclay said the bill – which paves the way for Brexit – will be considered by MPs in the week beginning 3 June.

He said if the plan is rejected by MPs, the UK will face no deal, or Article 50 could be revoked – so no Brexit.

But Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman has said Labour would not support the bill if no cross-party agreement were reached.

Attempts to find a cross-party compromise began after Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the withdrawal agreement that was negotiated with the EU, was rejected three times by MPs.

Asked twice whether she would resign if her Brexit plan is rejected again by MPs, Mrs May said the withdrawal bill will “ensure that we deliver Brexit for the public”.

She said she was sure that MPs “will be thinking of the duty that we have to deliver Brexit” when deciding whether to support the bill.

Government sources have told the BBC that there would not be a further attempt if the plan is rejected.

The vote – which will take place when MPs return from half-term recess – would bring the withdrawal agreement into UK law via the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

Speaking to the Lords’ European Union Select Committee, Mr Barclay said the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) will be published “as soon as possible”.

He said: “I think if the House of Commons does not approve the WAB, then the Barnier deal is dead in that form and I think the House will have to then address a much more fundamental question between whether it will pursue… a no-deal option or whether it will revoke.”

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said MPs will have to decide “if they want to vote for Brexit or not”.

Bringing the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill forward would allow the prime minister to push ahead with her ambition of delivering Brexit before the summer – despite the lack of agreement so far in the cross-party talks, said BBC political correspondent Iain Watson.

Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesman said that unless there was an agreement based on “real compromise and movement by the government” then the bill would be “based on the same botched Brexit deal that has been rejected three times already by Parliament”. -BBC

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