Ex-PM Gordon Brown warned on Sunday that May could be forced out of her position as the leader of the UK if her government suffers yet another defeat on a Brexit-related bill in parliament, the Independent newspaper reported today.
He went on to say that it still could be possible for the Conservative Party to survive and continue to rule as a minority government as a result of the fixed-term arrangements.
“I think what will happen if the government loses a vote is that there is potentially the chance of a change of prime minister, but I don’t think at that point they will want to give up as a government, and I think the five-year parliament makes it possible for them to survive,” the former PM told the Andrew Marr show on June 10.
“So I think the issues come down to whether the meaningful vote, after the customs union vote, the meaningful vote, means that Parliament rejects or potentially could reject the whole settlement, and that’s the point of further crisis,” he added.
As per the draft agreement yielded as a result of talks in Brussels earlier this year, the transition period will end at the very end of 2020. PM May has proposed a longer transition period which could last until 2023, after the next general election which could see May’s minority government ousted.
This would be yet another complication in EU-UK Brexit talks.
The aforementioned draft agreement also confirmed progress was being made on a number of matters, including Britain’s financial settlement to the bloc. However, other key issues, such as the Irish border, are yet to be resolved.
When asked if it’d be possible for the UK to remain in the bloc’s customs union after exiting from the EU, Mr. Brown said:
“I think it is, but I think the issue that we’ve got to resolve is Northern Ireland. It is absolutely clear to me that if you want a frictionless border between the north and the south, and everybody says that that is what they want, then you’ve not only got to adhere to some form of customs union or partnership, you’ve also got to adopt some of the single market regulations, therefore this is an issue that I think people have avoided for too long.”
May’s poor handling of Brexit negotiations and other matters renewed calls for her to resign by opposition MPs and hardline Brexiteers within her party, with Jacob Rees-Mogg describing her proposed customs partnership as “completely cretinous.”