Former UK prime minister David Cameron believes Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be able to get his hard-fought withdrawal agreement through Parliament.
Britain’s former prime minister was talking at a hotel in North Yorkshire on Thursday to promote his new book, For The Record, when he was asked whether he and Johnson had nicknames for one another.
David Cameron said that a friend had texted him earlier that day to ask about the prospects of Johnson’s Brexit deal, to which he responded: “The thing about the greased piglet is that he manages to slip through other people’s hands where mere mortals fail.”
Cameron – who held the EU referendum in 2016 as prime minister despite campaigning against leaving the bloc – said he would vote for the deal if he was still an MP to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
“The country voted to leave the European Union, the best way to leave is with a deal; I think a no-deal Brexit would be bad for the economy and bad for the union,” he told the audience.
“I think it’s much better to leave with a deal, and I think Boris has done well to achieve that deal. I hope he’ll get it through parliament, I suspect he will but it will be tight.”
He described the just-agreed-upon version of the withdrawal agreement as coming close to what was promised in the Conservative Party’s 2017 election manifesto.
However, he said, a general election or even a second referendum would likely follow if parliament voted the deal down.
Johnson secured a last-minute compromise with EU negotiators on Thursday, and it now needs the approval of both the UK and European parliaments. All eyes are now on the House of Commons, which will vote on the agreement tomorrow.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to support Boris Johnson’s deal, saying that it appeared worse than Theresa May’s – which failed to slip past Parliament three times – and hinted that his party would support a motion for a second Brexit referendum.
The Scottish National Party has tabled an amendment to reject the deal, while the Liberal Democrats, vocal supporters of Remain, are also calling for a second referendum and have made it clear they would endorse a divorce agreement only if Britons vote Leave a second time.
Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, allied with Johnson’s government, said the prime minister had made too many concessions to the EU and refused to support his deal.
The European Union may agree to an extension to the 31 October Brexit deadline if MPs reject it. Boris Johnson has repeatedly vowed to take Britain out of the EU whether or not there is a deal on the table by that date, but any attempt to deliver on that promise would likely by challenged in court.