In Depth

Brexit: is the UK facing its own ‘Trump moment’?

Former Brexit secretary David Davis warns of ‘democratic disaster’ if Article 50 extended

David Davis has warned that the UK will suffer its own “Trump moment” if the country does not leave the EU on 29 March.

The former Brexit secretary told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show that any move to extend Article 50 would be a “democratic disaster” and would leave the Conservative Party “massively damaged”.

“It would absolutely undermine belief in democracy in this country and certainly belief in the establishment political parties,” Davis said.

“Britain will get its Trump moment. The British people who voted for this - and a large number of Remainers who didn’t vote for it but still think it should be carried through because they believe in democracy - will see a government, a parliament, walking away from a question that they themselves put to the people,” he continued.

The warning came as No. 10 insisted that the meaningful vote on the Government’s Brexit deal with the EU will take place on Tuesday.

But “with deadlock remaining in Brussels and no signs from Brexiteers or May’s confidence and supply partners the Democratic Unionist Party that they will back her deal, she is on course for defeat”, says Sky News.

Speaking about the upcoming vote, Davis said: “The House will have to choose between something that might have a risk of some short-term but manageable economic turbulence or something which for certain would be a democratic disaster – namely not delivering on the referendum.”

That could leave the Tories and Labour vulnerable in future elections, and see movements such as Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party succeeding in the European elections, Davis argued.

“The British people would say: ‘We want to teach you a lesson.’”

That appraisal seems to be backed up by a new poll for The Independent that found just 17% of Brits would support an extension to Brexit in the event of the deal being voted down.

According to the BMG survey findings, more voters would like to see either no deal (27%) or a second referendum (29%) rather than prolonged uncertainty. And if Brexit does get delayed, 52% of the public say the extension should be no longer than six months at the most.

Eurosceptic backbenchers also “blasted the possibility of a delay - saying it would kill off democracy in Britain”, reports The Sun.

In an article for The Sunday Telegraph, Conservative Steve Baker and the DUP’s Nigel Dodds wrote: “The harm done to public trust in politics and democracy itself would be incalculable. For some, democracy would be effectively dead.”

But Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, has insisted that keeping the UK in the EU for three more months is “probably doable”.

“This is now necessary because of the position we find ourselves in,” he told Sky news.

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