Brexit: More no-deal prep if MPs vote against agreement

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The Government will step up preparations for a no-deal Brexit if MPs vote down Theresa May’s deal with Brussels, the Prime Minister has said.

Theresa May urged MPs to focus on her Brexit deal ahead of next month's crucial House of Commons vote.

But after coming under pressure to say what preparations Downing Street was making for a possible defeat, with nearly 100 Conservative MPs saying they will vote against the deal, Mr May said “some steps” would be necessary.

Appearing before the Commons Liaison Committee, the Prime Minister said the only deal on offer is the one she has negotiated with the EU.

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"My focus is on the vote that will take place on December 11 here in this House," she said.

"You want to look at all sorts of options and ideas. I think it is important Members of Parliament focus on the nature of this vote.

"This is an important point in our history. It is a vote on which we will be deciding whether we deliver on the decision of the British people.

"What has been made clear from the European Union is that this is the deal that has been negotiated and this is the deal that people need to focus on when they are looking at the vote."

The Prime Minister rejected a suggestion the failure to get a deal with the EU would see the UK stuck with the Northern Irish backstop plan permanently.

Andrew Murrison, the Tory MP and chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, compared the backstop to a "post-war pre-fab".

"It's sold as temporary, it's built to last, and it's likely to outlive us all," he said.

The Prime Minister dismissed his comments, telling the Commons Liaison Committee it would only ever be a temporary solution.

She added: "Neither side thinks the backstop is a good place to be."

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Mrs May admitted it will not be possible for the UK to unilaterally withdraw from it, though, but said this was a guarantee to the people of Northern Ireland there would never be a hard border in place.

The Prime Minister rejected the suggestion passing her Brexit plan in Parliament without the support of the DUP would lead to the end of her partnership with the Northern Irish party.

Its leader Arlene Foster reiterated that the party's 10 MPs would not back the PM's Withdrawal Agreement, telling the BBC on Thursday morning that it would create a "huge democratic deficit" in the province.

Speaking to the Commons Liaison Committee, the PM said: "Actually, the DUP have themselves said that the confidence-and-supply agreement remains in place."