Ex-Welsh Secretary says MPs still unlikely to pass Brexit deal

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Stephen Crabb
Image caption,
Stephen Crabb said MPs "have to make a decision"

A former Welsh Secretary has said he is pessimistic about the prospect of Theresa May's deal passing the Commons if it is put to a vote for a third time.

MPs voted on Thursday for the PM to ask for a delay to Brexit.

Stephen Crabb said there is still less than a 50% chance of the withdrawal agreement being agreed by MPs, with a further vote due next week.

The UK is set to leave the EU in 15 days time, with no agreement ratified.

Mrs May says Brexit could be delayed by three months, to 30 June, if MPs back her deal in a vote next week.

If they reject her deal again she says she will seek a longer extension - but any delay has to be agreed by the 27 other EU member states.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford urged for the extension to Article 50 to take place "now".

Any extension to the process has to be agreed with the European Union's remaining 27 states.

The vote calling for a delay came after a motion to hold a further EU referendum was defeated.

Seven Welsh Labour MPs - Tonia Antoniazzi, Ann Clwyd, Geraint Davies, Anna McMorrin, Albert Owen, Owen Smith and Jo Stevens - defied a Labour instruction to abstain and backed the referendum move.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
MPs voted to seek a delay to Brexit on Thursday night

A cross party plan to allow MPs to take control of the Brexit process was also rejected.

"This has maybe been the week when we've had a bit more reality in the whole Brexit debate," Mr Crabb said.

"MPs have to make a decision. Do they want to go through with Brexit, and if they do, there's a deal on the table.

"It's the only serious show in town."

But he said there is "less than 50% chance" of it passing, even though more of his colleagues were coming on board.

He said he was "pessimistic" about the deal getting through the Commons, and said the most likely outcome was that it "fails to go through for a third time".

At that point the PM should "reach out across the Commons chamber and work with MPs in a much more meaningful way", Mr Crabb said.

Stephen Crabb voted for a delay, but his party colleagues David Davies, Chris Davies, Glyn Davies, Simon Hart and David Jones voted against it.

Alun Cairns abstained by voting both for and against the delay.

On Twitter Welsh Labour leader Mr Drakeford said: "While I welcome the commitment to extend Article 50, this must be done now. The later we leave this, the greater the chance of us stumbling out of the EU without a deal in two weeks' time.

"The PM's deal has already been comprehensively rejected twice and by a historic majority. There is nothing more she can squeeze from this. She must now accept defeat and change course to reach a consensus that benefits the whole of the UK."

Jo Stevens, Welsh Labour Cardiff Central MP, said size of the vote against the government motion - 202 - "clearly shows Theresa May hasn't resolved the differences in the Tory party".

Ms Stevens said she would have preferred for Thursday's second referendum amendment, which she broke a Labour whip to back, to have been tabled next week.

But she said it was a "point of principle" to support it.

Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards called for "concrete action" to delay Brexit.

Mr Edwards said the "clear solution" was a further referendum and attacked Labour for playing "games with people's futures".