The chances of Britain leaving the EU will be 50-50 if ministers vote down Mrs May’s deal, the leading Brexiteer said. Dr Fox called on MPs to get behind Mrs May, insisting it was a “matter of honour” to support the embattled prime minister.
The Cabinet minister’s shock warning comes just weeks before the Commons will vote on the Withdrawal Agreement.
Asked if the UK would leave the EU as scheduled, Dr Fox said: “What you can be sure of is that if we vote for the prime minister’s deal then it is 100 percent certain that we will leave on March 29.”
Speaking to the Sunday Times, he added: “If we do not vote for that, I’m not sure I would give it much more than 50-50.
“And for me that would induce a sense that we had betrayed the people that voted in the referendum.”
The International Trade Secretary said that no Brexit would be the “worst possible outcome”.
He said: “It is a sad fact that there are a number of people who would rather see Britain fail than see Brexit succeed.
“It’s a great pity – almost a tragedy – that they are so unreconciled to the results of the referendum.”
And Dr Fox rejected the possibility of a second referendum.
He said: “Parliament cannot now, with any honour, renege on that result.
“Were they to do so, I think you would shatter the bond of trust between the electorate and Parliament.
“And I think that would put us into unprecedented territory with unknowable consequences.”
The vote on Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement is due to take place in the week of January 14.
Mrs May was forced to cancel a vote earlier this month and return to Brussels to secure further concessions in the face of an almost certain defeat.
Dr Fox’s warning comes as former Brexit Secretary David Davis said he expected defeat for Mrs May’s plan to force the UK and the EU back to the negotiating table.
Mr Davis told LBC radio: “They will have to come back and deal again. The deal she’s got is no good.
“It will be very, very nerve-wracking for some people and some companies, but at the end of the day we will get a deal and it will be a better one than she has got. That’s where I think it will go and that’s what I think she should do.”