Parliament will stop the UK crashing out of the EU without any Brexit deal, even if MPs block Theresa May’s deal, Amber Rudd has said, suggesting the prime minister’s threat of “no Brexit” was more likely than no deal.
The work and pensions secretary told Conservative rebels considering voting against the prime minister’s final deal that “Brexiters may lose their Brexit” and said new amendments that they would like even less could be put down if the deal was rejected.
“I think what the country needs now is the certainty of an orderly exit,” she said.
Asked whether the alternative choice was no deal or a second referendum, Rudd said: “It is my view parliament, the House of Commons, will stop no deal. There is not a majority in the House of Commons to allow that to take place.”
Her comments contradict the prime minister’s repeated assertion that crashing out of the EU with no deal is the biggest risk of rebellion, a persuasion tactic used on some wavering Labour MPs.
The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, has used the same argument as Rudd to make the opposite case – that MPs can safely vote down May’s deal because parliament will stop a no-deal exit. Starmer said Rudd’s comments made clear that deal or no deal was now a “false choice”.
“Amber Rudd seems to have ignored the No 10 spin by admitting that parliament would stop a no-deal Brexit,” Starmer said. “If the prime minister’s deal is rejected then MPs will not sit back and allow us to crash out of the EU without an agreement. Parliament will take back control.”