UK could face prospect of 'no Brexit' if withdrawal deal rejected, British foreign secretary says

Jeremy Hunt warned that "Brexit paralysis" could set in if MPs reject Theresa May's deal

UK could face prospect of 'no Brexit' if withdrawal deal rejected, British foreign secretary says

Jeremy Hunt. Picture by: Liang Xizhi/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Britain's foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that the UK could face the prospect of 'no Brexit' if MPs reject Theresa May's EU withdrawal agreement.

Members of the House of Commons have been debating the deal this week, ahead of the long-anticipated 'meaningful vote' next week.

Amid strong opposition from the likes of Labour, the DUP and many within Mrs May's own Conservative party, it's widely expected the deal will be rejected.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 this morning, Mr Hunt said the government is 'committed to delivering Brexit' but acknowledged they are currently a minority government.

Although he expressed optimism that the deal could still be passed despite the 'challenging' circumstances, he also observed: "If this deal is rejected, ultimately what we may end up with is not a different type of Brexit but Brexit paralysis. And Brexit paralysis ultimately could lead to no Brexit."

He added: "I'm saying this would be (an) incredibly damaging breach of trust and it would also be very bad for Britain's reputation abroad, having decided to leave the EU, if we in the end for whatever reasons found we weren't able to do it."

Earlier this week, Mrs May suffered another high-profile defeat in the House of Commons in a vote will increase pressure on her government to present a 'Plan B' within days if the current deal is rejected.

EU leaders have repeatedly insisted the current deal is the only one on the table.

The UK's Labour party, meanwhile, has reiterated its calls for a general election to be triggered if the withdrawal agreement is rejected - although has also said it will consider supporting a second Brexit referendum if an election isn't possible.

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn this week argued: "If a general election cannot be secured then we will keep all options on the table, including the option of campaigning for a public vote.

"But an election must be the priority. It is not only the most practical option, it is also the most democratic option."