The Democratic Unionist Party’s Education Minister Peter Weir has said that unless “something very strange” happens, the Government will lose the meaningful vote on Theresa May’s EU Withdrawal Agreement next week, potentially “by a large margin”.
The vote on the deal is expected to take place next Tuesday, and the Prime Minister’s allies, the DUP, have said they will not support her deal.
Mr Weir told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright: “We have made it very clear in regards to the withdrawal deal that we don’t believe it is satisfactory. We believe it would lead to a border down the Irish Sea.
“We are very clear that there is no prospect at all of supporting the deal or even abstaining, we will be opposing the deal in Parliament. All of us are in unchartered territory about what happens after that.
“From that point of view we will obviously wait and see what steps are taken beyond that. It seems consensus is that – barring something very strange happening - on December 11 they government will lose on the Parliamentary vote, potentially by quite a large margin.
“I suppose then people’s positions will depend on what the next steps are that are taken. I think there is a requirement if the deal goes down for the Prime Minister to make a statement to the Commons soon afterwards.”
'Biggest decision they will ever take'
Mr Weir added that the DUP had joined other parties to call for May’s legal advice on the deal to be published because MPs needed ‘full knowledge’ before voting on her deal.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox is expected to answer questions from MPs on his advice to May later on Monday.
“We believe that there is a lot in the agreement that is relatively uncontroversial and that could be backed,” he said.
“Our concern is to try and ensure that we are not stuck in a situation where there is a regulatory divergence.
“Whatever happens has to be on a UK-wide basis, and we think it is important and why we have joined other parties in calling for the legal assessment of the deal to be made public.
“Because, we believe Parliamentarians are taking the biggest decision that they will ever have to take, and it should be on the basis of full knowledge.”