UK: Ministers to back Brexit delay if PM can't get deal

– Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark say they would vote to extend Article 50 to avoid disorderly departure from EU

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal</p> <p>LONDON (AA) – Three senior cabinet ministers have urged Prime Minister Theresa May to extend Article 50 if her Brexit deal is not passed next week.</p> <p>In an article they jointly wrote for the Daily Mail, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Justice Secretary David Gauke and Business Secretary Greg Clark said they would vote to give Britain more time to negotiate a deal with the European Union</p> <p>While praising May’s “extraordinary determination and resilience”, the ministers said they will not “shrink from flouting her authority if her deal is blocked again next week”, adding “this will mean there is no time to stop a ‘disastrous No Deal’ exit&quot;.</p> <p>They wrote that the disorderly Brexit would inflame historic border tensions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and ultimately lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom, in addition to hitting jobs, trade and the economy.</p> <p>“In the next few days, it is to be hoped that we can achieve a breakthrough in our negotiations with the EU and a new deal can be presented to Parliament,” they wrote.</p> <p>“After months of uncertainty, it is time that MPs recognized the need to get a deal, accepted that this is the only deal on offer, and supported it.”</p> <p>They said if a parliamentary breakthrough is not achieved in the next few days, the country will face a choice.</p> <p>“We could crash out on March 29 or we could try to leave with a deal at a later date. Beyond the next few days, there simply will not be time to agree a deal and complete all the necessary legislation before March 29.</p> <p>“Our hope is that Parliament recognizes that we should leave the EU on March 29 with a deal. However, if there is no breakthrough in the coming week, the balance of opinion in Parliament is clear – that it would be better to seek to extend Article 50 and delay our date of departure rather than crash out of the European Union on March 29.</p> <p>“It is time that many of our Conservative parliamentary colleagues in the ERG recognized that Parliament will stop a disastrous No Deal Brexit on March 29. If that happens, they will have no one to blame but themselves for delaying Brexit,” they added, referring to MPs allied with the pro-Brexit European Research Group.</p> <p>The possibility of a no-deal Brexit has risen since a deal reached between the EU and the UK government was rejected by an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons and the country is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.</p> <p>May has been holding meetings with EU officials since the parliamentary defeat after telling the House of Commons that the Irish backstop would be replaced with “alternative arrangements”.</p> <p>However, the EU has said the withdrawal agreement is not to be reopened for negotiations.</p> <p>The House of Commons is set to debate and vote on May’s supposedly altered deal next week as a little longer than a month is left before the March 29 Brexit date.</p> <p>UK voters decided to end the country’s more than 40-year-long membership in the bloc in 2016.