Theresa May could have to extend Article 50 if her Brexit deal is thrown out, minister claims

Culture minister Margot James revealed today that Britain could have to DELAY Brexit to give more time to get a deal passed.

The PM faces the fight of her life next Tuesday when her Brexit deal will be voted on by MPs – where it is widely expected to be thrown out.

Ms Jones told the BBC this lunchtime: "The only way is for MPs to coalesce around a reasonable deal, which this is, and get it through. That is how you stop No Deal.

"If that proves to be impossible, we have very little time left but we might have to extend Article 50."

She admitted it was "very unlikely that Parliament will actually stare down the barrel of that particular gun" and predicted that MPs would eventually get behind the PM.

But No10 was quick to slap down her comments, which are not official Government policy.

The PM has repeatedly said Britain will be leaving on March 29 this year, no matter what happens.

A spokesperson said today: "The Prime Minister has been clear on a number of occasions that that is not something we are intending to do.

“The PM has already said that we are leaving the EU on March 29 and that we won’t be extending Article 50.”

The EU has said we might be able to extend Article 50 if Britain formally requested it.

On the same programme Labour's Emily Thornberry said it would be pointless to do that for another few months if the Government didn't agree anything by then either.

The PM is insisting she can get her deal through the Commons next week, despite widespread opposition.

She said today that there has been "movement" from the EU since she was forced to ditch the vote last month.

But Brussels has said so far they are only willing to offer her a bunch of letters setting out their positions on the hated Northern Ireland backstop, and insisted they will NOT re-open talks again.

It was revealed today that ministers are seeking to get Brussels to say they will have a trade deal ready 12 months after the transition period ends, to make it clear the Northern Ireland back-up plan – which will keep us tied to the EU – won't be permanent.

Mrs May will also bring forward guarantees that the UK and Northern Ireland will stick by the same rules, and give MPs more of a say over the backstop in an attempt to try and sell her deal.

She will hold drinks receptions at No10 this week in a last-ditch attempt to woo them.

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