The PM revealed her last-ditch plans today to try and win around Tory rebels into supporting her deal next week, as she faces almost certain defeat.
She told Radio 4 that MPs would have a decision by the end of 2020 over whether they wanted to avoid the hated Northern Ireland backstop.
Mrs May said that would be "a choice between going into the backstop and extending the transition period."
She said she was "talking to people" about the "role of Parliament" in deciding what happens next – and there would be "pros and cons of both sides of that".
"The backstop is not automatic," she stressed.
Damning legal advice yesterday revealed the backstop plan for Northern Ireland would tie us down to the EU forever – which is one of the main reasons MPs hate her deal so much.
Mrs May acknowledged today that "people have a concern of the backstop, that we could be in it definitely" but argued that the other option of staying in a transition would mean paying more money to the EU and accepting unlimited EU immigration for longer too.
She said that killing off her proposals could end up in the UK leaving the bloc with No Deal – or would risk no Brexit.
The PM also confirmed that she IS still planning on pushing ahead with a crunch vote on Tuesday, even though she's likely to be crushed by her own MPs.
Last night it was revealed that Cabinet ministers have been begging her to scrap the vote altogether.
But she told the BBC: "We are in the middle of five days of debate in Parliament which will lead up to a vote on this issue."
The news comes as:
- EU leaders suggested the leave date could be pushed back beyond March if she loses
- Top Tory MP Johnny Mercer became the 104th MP to trash Mrs May's deal and say he would vote against it
- Liam Fox warned yesterday that MPs have "stolen Brexit"
- Top Tories warned the PM will be forced to resign if she loses the key vote
Mrs May also said this morning that any agreement must include the backstop in some way.
She said: "There is no deal without a backstop."
Earlier this week there was fury as Tory rebels backed Labour in a coup to inflict a landmark defeat on the Government.
Ministers were voted to be in contempt of Parliament for the first time ever – and were forced to release a stream of legal documents which proved her deal risks splitting Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK “indefinitely”.
And a separate vote proposed by rebel Tory Dominic Grieve gave MPs the power for what happens in the event that Parliament rejects her deal next week.
The DUP – Mrs May's Northern Irish allies – have warned they won't carry on backing the Government if she wins the vote.
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