British PM Theresa May implored lawmakers on Monday to reconsider the Brexit deal ahead of the upcoming vote that could lead to Brexit's reversal or a no-deal scenario, both outcomes she is keen to avoid.
British lawmakers are preparing to deliver their verdict on Prime Minister Theresa May's divorce deal with the European Union after two years of political upheaval.
Just 10 weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU, lawmakers vote late Tuesday on whether to accept the plan or risk leaving without an agreement on future relations with the bloc.
May's deal faces widespread opposition, primarily because of language designed to prevent the reintroduction of border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which some fear will indefinitely tie Britain to the EU.
Former education minister Nicky Morgan warned that the UK wasn't ready for a no-deal Brexit, telling the BBC on Tuesday that "there are millions of people in this country watching Westminster and Parliament very anxiously today."
May made a frantic last push Monday to swing lawmakers' support behind her Brexit deal, warning its defeat risked scuttling the UK's departure from the European Union and "betraying the vote of the British people."
May claimed to have gotten reassurances with "legal force" on key issues from the EU, including a temporary backstop.
However, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, whose 10 votes British Prime Minister Theresa May relies on for a majority in the British parliament, confirmed on Tuesday that it will vote against her proposed Brexitwithdrawal deal.
"Tonight will be historic but for the wrong reasons," DUP leader Arlene Foster said in a post on Twitter ahead of the vote in parliament on the deal.
"We will oppose the toxic backstop & vote against the WA," she said, referring to the Withdrawal Agreement.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned May's deal as a "damaging shambles" and calling for a general election if the agreement is rejected on Tuesday.
May had warned on Monday that history books would judge Parliament harshly if lawmakers did not back Britain's orderly exit from the EU when they vote on the agreement Tuesday.
"Over these next 24 hours, give this deal a second look," May implored sceptical lawmakers in the House of Commons.
"With just 74 days to go until (Brexit day) the 29th of March, the consequences of voting against this deal tomorrow are becoming ever clearer," she said.
May said rejecting her deal would lead either to a reversal of Brexit — overturning voters' decision in a 2016 referendum — or to Britain leaving the bloc without a deal, a course that would damage the country's economy, security and unity.
A defeat on Tuesday would throw Brexit plans into disarray just weeks before the UK is due to withdraw from the bloc.
Britain and the EU reached a hard-won divorce deal in November, a milestone that should have set the UK on the road to an orderly exit.
But the compromise deal has been rejected by both sides of Britain's EU divide. Many Brexit-backing lawmakers say it will leave the UK tethered to the bloc's rules and unable to forge an independent trade policy. Pro-Europeans argue it is inferior to the frictionless economic relationship Britain currently enjoys as an EU member.
May postponed a vote on the deal in December to avoid a resounding defeat, and there are few signs sentiment has changed significantly since then. A handful of previously opposed legislators have swung behind May's agreement in the last few days, but they remain outnumbered by those determined to vote against it.
The deal's most contentious measure — an insurance policy known as the "backstop" — would keep Britain in an EU customs union to maintain an open border between the UK's Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland after Brexit.
Pro-Brexit lawmakers worry that Britain could be trapped indefinitely in the arrangement, bound to EU trade rules and unable to strike new deals around the world.
In a letter to May published on Monday, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker offered an assurance that the backstop "would only be in place for as long as strictly necessary."
They promised that the EU would work quickly to strike a permanent new trade deal with Britain that would render the backstop unnecessary.
But the letter also reiterated the bloc's refusal to renegotiate the divorce deal.
If Parliament votes down the deal, May has until the following Monday to come up with a new proposal. So far, May has refused publicly to speculate on a possible "Plan B."
Some members of Parliament from both government and opposition parties are exploring ways to use parliamentary procedures to wrest control of the Brexit process away from the government, so that lawmakers by majority vote could specify a new plan for Britain's EU exit.
But with no clear majority in Parliament for any single alternate course, there is a growing chance that Britain may seek to postpone its departure date while politicians work on a new plan.
Without a Brexit deal, Britain faces an abrupt break from the EU, a scenario that economists warn could batter the British economy and bring chaotic scenes at borders, ports and airports.