Labour MPs have been told to be ready for a vote of no-confidence in the government of Prime Minister Theresa May in case she suffers a defeat over her Brexit deal, a report says.
Lawmakers are set to vote on the deal on Tuesday, after May shelved plans for a vote last month when it transpired that not enough lawmakers from her own party or others would support the deal she had struck with the European Union.
Labour MPs, even those who are unwell, have received messages, calling on them to be present both for the “meaningful vote” on May’s Brexit blueprint and the following day, The Guardian reported on Saturday.
Labour whips asked MPs to prepare for party leader Jeremy Corbyn to table the no-confidence vote within hours of the prime minister’s defeat, but noted that the actual vote would take place on Wednesday.
However, if Corbyn were to postpone tabling the vote, senior Labour MPs would table one themselves, hoping to force the leadership to back a second referendum, according to The Observer.
“The time for prevarication is over. If May’s deal fails we have to test the will of the house and if we fail, we must consider all options including campaigning for a second referendum as this is party policy,” said Angela Smith, Labour MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge.
The Guardian also quoted a senior shadow cabinet member as saying, “There is now recognition that we cannot wait any longer. If May goes down to defeat and she does not resign and call an election, this is the moment we have to act.”
Meanwhile, May warned lawmakers on Saturday that failure to support her plan to leave the bloc would be catastrophic for the UK.
“Doing so would be a catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust in our democracy,” May said.
“So my message to Parliament this weekend is simple: it is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country.”
Senior Tories said Saturday they were unsure whether May could win the meaningful vote “in any circumstances,” adding a loss by less than 100 would now be considered as the best the prime minister could hope for.
However, even if she suffered a defeat of closer to 200, which many Tories think is likely, Conservative MPs and ministers still expect her to stagger and try to bring a better offer back to the Commons for another vote within weeks.
Meanwhile, British ministers have revealed that Brexit may be delayed or even cancelled.
The British government has indicated that it has plans in place to cope with the no-deal Brexit, a scenario that could become highly likely on Britain’s departure date from the EU on March 29, 2019, if the parliament rejects a draft Brexit deal signed between London and the bloc in November.