British Prime Minister Theresa May has been urged to delay the “meaningful vote” on her Brexit deal for a second time.
Former Brexit secretary David Davis has speculated the vote could be put off if Mrs May looks likely to lose it.
His comments come as she prepares to meet EU leaders and seek further “clarifications” to try to persuade sceptical MPs to back her deal.
The Financial Times reported that Mrs May would speak this week to EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, in an attempt to break the Brexit logjam.
A Downing Street source told the Press Association that talks between Mrs May’s negotiators and their counterparts in Brussels continued over the Christmas period.
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Mr Davis, in a column for The Daily Telegraph, insisted a deal will be reached “at the eleventh hour” because the EU is worried about losing the €43bn “divorce payment” that would come with a Brexit deal.
The vote, which was delayed at the last minute in December, is currently scheduled for the week beginning 14 January 2019.
“The Withdrawal Agreement does not respect the referendum result. That is why the meaningful vote had to be delayed and one wonders if even the January vote will go ahead,” Mr Davis said.
“Attempts to frighten MPs into supporting it are unlikely to work, because voting down this substandard deal will not result in no Brexit.”
Urging Mrs May to take her time to get a better deal, he added: “We know that the EU is worried about the loss of the £39bn ‘divorce’ payment if there is no deal … so this is the moment to be hard-nosed about these issues.
“The more we prepare to leave the EU without a deal, the more likely a good deal becomes.
“Tory MPs must remain committed to delivering the referendum result, as repeated in our manifesto, which pledged to leave the Customs Union and the Single Market and which said that no deal is better than a bad deal.
“To do otherwise would frankly throw our democracy’s credibility into chaos.”