Extending Article 50 would be like ‘trying to alter the date of Christmas’, according to Nigel Evans MP.
The Conservative MP for Ribble Valley told Mike Graham that everybody expected the UK to leave on 29 March and changing the date would be ‘catastrophic’.
- Read more: 'Appeasing Rees-Mogg has left Theresa May in a mess', says Alastair Campbell
- Read more: Dominic Grieve: 'Our children and grandchildren' won't 'thank us' for leaving the EU
Evans also poured scorn on Theresa May’s attempts to get further assurances from the European Union on the Irish backstop after delaying the vote, and said she had still not answered concerns from the DUP and Conservative backbenches.
He said: “The reason why the vote was pulled just before Christmas was because the whips had done their calculations that it wasn’t going to go through, so they decided to pull it in order that Theresa could then go back to Brussels and come back with, as we were told, more than warm words.
“Well she came back, and she didn’t even bring the warm words. The whole thing is absolutely ridiculous.”
'Big time' defeat
Although Jeremy Corbyn raised the possibility of extending Article 50 yesterday, Evans was dismissive of the proposals.
He added: “Going down the route of extending article 50 I think would be an absolute disaster and achieve absolutely nothing. We’re told that business wants stability, everyone expects us to leave on March 29, it’s almost like trying to alter the date of Christmas.”
- Read more: 'In the event of a hard Brexit would I resign? The answer is yes', says Business Minister
Evans said he predicted the government would be defeated ‘big time’ on Tuesday, and hoped this would lead to the Prime Minister adopting a stronger position with the European Union.
“It’s about time that we started to use the leverage of leaving without a deal,” he said.
"We’ve had 2 years of this so far and we’ve made the pass to the EU on a number of things, we’ve given them the upper hand, we’ve made lots of concessions, but we’ve got this £39 billion worth of hostage money that we’re giving them over that 20 month period which they need, and then they want to carry on selling goods, so lets use that leverage which we’re simply failing to do so.”
Words: Cormac Connelly-Smith