Welsh Tory MPs fear general election after Brexit deal loss

Theresa MayImage source, HOC
Image caption,
Theresa May suffered a second Brexit deal defeat in the Commons on Tuesday night

Welsh Tory MPs have said Theresa May's repeated failure to get her Brexit deal through Parliament could lead to a general election.

David Davies, Simon Hart and Glyn Davies speculated after the prime minister's agreement with the European Union failed to pass for a second time.

Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford said the UK's deal was now dead.

Mrs May's deal was defeated in the Commons on Tuesday evening by 149 votes and the prime minister has said Tory MPs would get a free vote on Wednesday evening's motion.

A further vote is due to take place on Thursday on whether there should be an extension to Article 50 - the process by which the UK leaves the EU - and a delay to Brexit.

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David Davies, a pro-Brexit Tory MP for Monmouth, said: "A general election is a lot more likely now than it was yesterday.

"I don't say it's going to happen, but clearly if a government can't get through on the one issue which we were really elected to deal with at the last election it puts us all in a very difficult situation."

He praised the prime minister for doing "a very good job of trying to push through a compromise", but he called for "both sides have to stop, pause and think."

"The people who I'm really concerned about are some in the cabinet, and other ministers, who have undermined the negotiation process by calling for article 50 to be taken away," Mr Davies said.

"You've got to be able to walk away in any negotiation process and if people aren't willing to do that then we can't negotiate."

Image caption,
David Davies said a general election is "more likely" after the deal failed to pass the Commons

Simon Hart, the Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Conservative MP, said: "Any outcome is now possible: from a deal to no deal, to a delayed deal, to the loss of the prime minister, to the loss of a government, to an election."

"Everything is up in the air as a result of today's vote," said Mr Hart, one of the leaders of the Brexit Delivery Group.

He is among a group of MPs who have tabled an amendment calling for a short extension to Brexit to 22 May.

It also calls for a "standstill" agreement lasting until the end of 2021, during which time the UK would observe EU rules while a trade deal is negotiated.

Glyn Davies, Tory MP for Montgomeryshire, said: "A general election is no more than a possibility, but the odds have shortened."

Shadow Defence Secretary and Llanelli MP Nia Griffith said Labour could put forward another vote of no confidence in Theresa May's government.

The party's previous motion was rejected by MPs in January by 325 votes to 306 but she told BBC Radio Wales "we should be getting rid of this government and put in a team that can negotiate successfully [with the EU]".

Speaking on Wednesday's Good Morning Wales programme, she said: "The vote of confidence is a tactic we could still use, but as with any tactic you wait until the right time for it."

"If you go in there with only one idea, as Theresa May has done, for the last two years, you end up with a situation where you can't get agreement on it," she added.

However Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said: "I wouldn't write the deal off just yet, I think there's many more twists and turns to come."

He repeatedly declined to answer if he would vote against leaving the EU without a deal.

"Clearly if we vote on Thursday to extend article 50, much will depend on the conditions the European Union put down on that if they accept it," he added.

"And that again puts another risk on not having Brexit at all."

"Therefore I want colleagues to come together, as the prime minister has been working in the national interest, seeking to bring the country together."

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Jo Stevens said Theresa May had failed at negotiating Brexit

Pro-EU Labour Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens said: "You've got to wonder what more [Theresa May] could try and do. She's failed.

"She's failed at negotiating, she's failed at her first attempt at a deal to persuade her own colleagues to vote for it.

"You really need to think about whether its time to have a general election, or she needs to realise that he game is up and put this back to the public for a vote."

Ms Stevens expects MPs to rule out a no-deal Brexit on Wednesday and said parliament would have to extend Article 50 as a "natural consequence".

Calling for a further referendum, Plaid Cymru's Liz Saville Roberts argued the prime minister "must now accept that Parliament has rejected her wildly unpopular deal, so it is time to turn with respect to the public".

Two of Wales' eight Tory MPs voted against the deal - Guto Bebb and David Jones - on Tuesday, while the rest backed it.

All Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru MPs voted against the agreement.