IF, as looks likely, Theresa May loses tomorrow’s planned vote on her Brexit deal, the crisis facing the Government will intensify.

We will be entering unchartered waters if Parliament rejects the deal Theresa May has negotiated with the European Union, with any number of different scenarios possible. Further EU discussions? A general election? A People’s Vote? Nothing will be off the table.

There are obstacles to be overcome at every turn, but with the United Kingdom due to leave the EU on March 29, our opinion is that one thing is clear. Whatever party they represent, MPs need to do everything they can to avoid the nightmare scenario of leaving the EU in a no-deal Brexit.

Some Conservative MPs might claim a no-deal departure is not something to be feared, but all available evidence suggests it would be extremely damaging to the British economy. Given the North-East’s reliance on its manufacturing base, there is every chance it would be especially painful in our region.

From potential problems at the border to the risk of running out of essential supplies and medicines, a no-deal Brexit would cause immense short-term disruption. In the longer term, the switch to WTO rules would have serious consequences for the major employers that are so important to the North-East economy.

There is still time to avoid such a scenario. Mrs May’s plan might not command the support of a majority in the House of Commons, but if it is voted down, it is essential that MPs come up with a viable alternative.