British PM Theresa May sees no alternative to her Brexit plan

British Prime Minister Theresa May at a news conference at No. 10 Downing Street, London, on Nov 15, 2018. She wrote in the Sun on Sunday newspaper that there is no alternative plan to her Brexit deal.
British Prime Minister Theresa May at a news conference at No. 10 Downing Street, London, on Nov 15, 2018. She wrote in the Sun on Sunday newspaper that there is no alternative plan to her Brexit deal.PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (REUTERS) - British Prime Minister Theresa May says she sees no alternative to the Brexit deal she presented earlier this week, amid reports that some of her senior ministers want her to renegotiate the draft agreement before meeting European Union leaders next weekend.

"There is no alternative plan on the table. There is no different approach that we could agree with the EU," Mrs May wrote in an article for the Sun on Sunday newspaper.

"If MPs (legislators) reject the deal, they will simply take us back to square one. It would mean more division, more uncertainty and a failure to deliver on the vote of the British people," she added.

Just hours after announcing last Wednesday that her senior ministers had collectively backed her divorce deal, Mrs May was thrust into her premiership's most perilous crisis when Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned last Thursday to oppose the agreement.

Other mutinous lawmakers in her party have openly spoken of ousting her and said the Brexit deal would not pass parliament.

Brexit supporters say the transitional deal risks leaving Britain subject to EU rules for an indefinite period.

On Saturday, Ms Andrea Leadsom, the minister in charge of government business in parliament, told the BBC that she was supporting Mrs May but was not fully happy with the deal.

 
 
 

"I think there's still the potential to improve on the clarification and on some of the measures within it and that's what I'm hoping to be able to help with," she said.

Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Saturday that British pro-Brexit ministers were "not living in the real world" if they thought they could renegotiate the divorce treaty agreed with the EU last week.

Several British newspapers had reported that Ms Leadsom was working with four other senior ministers and Brexit enthusiasts - Mr Michael Gove, Mr Liam Fox, Mr Chris Grayling and Ms Penny Mordaunt - to pressure Mrs May to change the deal.

Ms Mordaunt, Mr Raab, and five other top Conservatives - former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, Mr Raab's predecessor David Davis, Interior Minister Sajid Javid, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, and Work and Pensions Minister Amber Rudd - are all "actively preparing" leadership campaigns, the Sunday Times said.

More than 20 Conservative lawmakers have written to call for Mrs May to go, and a total of 48 requests are needed to trigger a leadership contest.

The Sunday Times also reported that Britain's army had been ordered to step up contingency plans to help police maintain public order in case of food and medicine shortages after a "no deal" Brexit, citing an unnamed "well-placed army source".