Labour peer Lord Andrew Adonis has said that the best way forward for the government would be to revoke Article 50, after Theresa May’s historic defeat in the Commons on Tuesday.
Joining Julia Hartley-Brewer on the talkRADIO breakfast show, he said the Conservative party was too divided for there to be a general election.
“In a normal circumstance, what we’d have now is an election,” he said.
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“[The Prime Minister] would resign and there would be an election. The reason there can’t be an election at this point is that at the moment there are three Conservative parties.
“There’s the Jacob Rees-Mogg no-deal Conservative party, there’s the Theresa May Conservative party and there’s the Dominic Grieve no Brexit Conservative party.
“Those three parties would split the overall Conservative party if there was an election.
“Theresa May is so weak she couldn’t deselect MPs or force her manifesto on those who don’t agree with it.
“An election wouldn’t resolve this issue, so there’s very little appetite to force an election partly because nobody is sure they’d actually win.”
No deal 'would be an utter disaster'
“But if there is no majority for anything, then the default position is that we leave the EU on the 29th March without a deal,” said Hartley-Brewer.
“Would it not be better now if the entire country got together now and made sure that was a success?”
“It wouldn’t be a success, it would be an utter disaster,” Lord Adonis replied.
“I think the most likely thing if there isn’t even a majority to do anything, and you can’t even get a majority for a referendum, the most likely thing is to simply roll over Article 50, and the EU will agree it, because they don’t want a catastrophic disorganised Brexit either.
“She doesn’t have the power to do that,” argued Hartley-Brewer.
“She can do that unilaterally. Or the government can request an extension from the EU for Article 50,” said Lord Adonis.
“I think there’d be a parliamentary majority for revoking Article 50.”
In December 2018, it was ruled by the European Court of Justice that the UK could in fact revoke Article 50.