The Brexit Secretary has warned the country is in danger of ‘sleepwalking’ into staying in the EU.
Stephen Barclay called on fellow politicians to ‘roll up their sleeves’ and deliver Brexit – or risk the EU not granting another extension in October if a deal is not done.
He is ready for a backlash from Remainer Cabinet colleagues when he presents proposals in the coming days for ramping up No Deal exit planning, as Nigel Farage threatened he would insist on Brexit Party MEPs joining the UK’s negotiating team.
Mr Barclay told The Sun: ‘The message from Brussels is clear – if Britain has not left the EU by 31 October we will be faced with a stark choice: a no deal Brexit or no Brexit at all.
‘We are at real risk of sleepwalking into remaining in the EU.
And the reality is – it won’t be in Parliament’s gift to extend the time further.
‘The EU will decide it for us. If we don’t roll up our shirt sleeves and get on and pass the deal we risk the EU understandably losing patience and refusing any further time.’
He went on: ‘That is why I believe it would be inexcusable for the Government to not use the coming months to continue to prepare for No Deal.’
He said the Prime Minister has been advised to accelerate No Deal planning as a key negotiating tactic ahead of the October deadline.
It comes as Nigel Farage – whose Brexit Party is on course to win this month’s European elections said he would insist Brexit Party MEPs join the government’s negotiating team to knock heads together’.
Mr Farage has argued a No Deal Brexit is the only way to respect the will of the people as expressed in the 2016 referendum.
But Mr Barclay told the paper the Commons might revoke Britain’s departure from the EU altogether rather than vote to leave on WTO terms.
He said: ‘Every MP is now faced with a tough choice — vote for a deal or head towards a showdown in October where we may lose Brexit together.’
Senior Tory and Labour politicians are set to meet again tomorrow to discuss the customs arrangement, workers’ rights and environment protections, in hopes of finding a deal which they believe can pass the House of Commons.
If they can strike a compromise Mrs May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will then meet.
But former PM Tony Blair warned in a Sky interview this morning there was ‘no point’ in reaching a Brexit compromise that was unacceptable to Brexiteers.
He called for a deal to be put to a ‘confirmatory’ second referendum, going so far as to advise Labour voters to consider voting for an ‘avowedly’ Remain party if they could not back Labour.