Published: Sun, March 10, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

United Kingdom faces ‘total uncertainty’ if Brexit deal rejected - health minister

United Kingdom faces ‘total uncertainty’ if Brexit deal rejected - health minister

If that happens, lawmakers will be able to vote on Wednesday and Thursday on whether they want to leave the bloc without a deal, or ask for a delay to Brexit beyond March 29 - all but wresting control of Brexit from the government.

She said she felt a "great responsibility" to help the prime minister deliver Brexit, as a leading pro-leave campaigner in the 2016 referendum.

In the interview, Leadsom declined to speculate on whether Conservative members of Parliament should have a free vote on the issue leaving without a deal next week.

They rejected it by a historic margin in January - with many Tory Brexiteers opposing it because of concerns about the "backstop" proposal in the agreement, aimed at avoiding a return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

"I completely understand uncertainty is really bad for businesses", she said.

But despite the war of words, both sides say talks are continuing over the weekend, just days before May will face parliament once again after resoundingly losing the first vote in parliament on January 15.

"Rather than engage constructively to get a deal, bully boy Barnier and the European Union cabal are retreating to a position that Theresa May herself has claimed no UK Prime Minster could sign up to", said Sammy Wilson MP, Brexit spokesman for Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - which supports leaving the European Union and is determined to maintain the Province's status as an integral part of the United Kingdom, in line with the wishes of most of its residents.

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"He seems to be on Twitter offering to go back to negotiations that were ruled out several months ago suggesting somehow that the United Kingdom should be split up and we should have a border down the Irish Sea", Leadsom said in an interview.

"EU commits to give United Kingdom the option to exit the Single Customs Territory unilaterally, while the other elements of the backstop must be maintained to avoid a hard border", Mr Barnier tweeted after briefing ambassadors of the 27 European Union states that are staying on together after Brexit.

Stephen Barclay, Britain's Brexit Minister, said it was "not the time to rerun old arguments". The U.K. has put forward clear new proposals. "We now need to agree a balanced solution that can work for both sides".

The United Kingdom's labyrinthine crisis over European Union membership is approaching its finale with an extraordinary array of options including a delay, a last-minute deal, no-deal Brexit, a snap election or even another referendum.

Conservative Party lawmaker Steve Baker and Democratic Unionist deputy leader Nigel Dodds wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that prolonging the Brexit process rather than making a clean break would lead to "political calamity".

"This is an attempt to get ahead of a possible blame game and appear positive when in reality it is going backwards to something rejected a year ago".

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