UK Brexit minister says no Brexit is bigger risk than no deal
Updated 20:34, 13-Mar-2019
CGTN

‍Britain's Brexit minister Stephen Barclay said Wednesday a failure to leave the European Union posed a bigger risk to Britain than leaving the bloc without a deal.

The prime minister has suffered the heaviest (230 votes) and fourth heaviest (149 votes) defeats in parliamentary history in the past two months, and on later Wednesday and possibly Thursday, lawmakers will essentially take control – the government is not taking a position on Wednesday's no-deal vote and isn't expected to do so on a likely vote on Thursday on a delay.

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“If you pushed me to the end point where it's a choice between no deal and no Brexit ... I think no deal is going to be very disruptive for the economy and I think no deal also has serious questions for the union,” said Barclay.

He insisted that "no Brexit is the bigger risk" and is "catastrophic for our democracy." 

Leave campaigners and supporters of UKIP await the vote result as protesters from the Remain and Leave campaigns gather outside Parliament in London, England, March 12, 2019. /VCG Photo

Leave campaigners and supporters of UKIP await the vote result as protesters from the Remain and Leave campaigns gather outside Parliament in London, England, March 12, 2019. /VCG Photo

Britain is due to leave the EU bloc on March 29. Speaking of the leaving date, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson believed that Britain will leave the EU on that day because "that is what the law provides."

To avoid a no-deal Brexit, Conservative lawmaker Steve Baker Wednesday suggested an amendment to allow May to extend the time period in which Britain can agree a deal to leave the EU. "The prime minister should seek an extension of Article 50 ... so businesses do get a bit more time to prepare,” said Baker.

EU: Time for the British to decide

Regarding the vote on later Wednesday, the EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said earlier that only Britain could chart a way out of the stalemate if it still wants to leave the EU in an orderly manner. He stressed that "the treaty is, and will remain, the only treaty possible."

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Also on Wednesday, Germany's Economy Minister Peter Altmaier expressed the hope that British legislators would vote decisively against a no-deal Brexit, saying that rejection will "unite millions in the UK and in Europe." He also warned today's vote can become a "turning point."

The European Union's Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici earlier Wednesday expressed his disappointment towards the vote on Tuesday, claiming that the British parliament has lost its "last chance" to reach a deal on Brexit.

"We have done everything we could do," Moscovici told reporters, "It is time now for the British to say what they want, now that they said what they don't want," Moscovici said.

(Cover: Britain's Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay leaves Downing Street in central London, March 11, 2019. /VCG Photo)

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Source(s): Reuters