Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday it was up to MPs to decide whether Britain leaves the European Union next March with no deal despite the potentially catastrophic impact.
Speaking to a parliamentary committee, May was asked several times whether she would personally allow a disorderly Brexit to happen if -- as looks increasingly likely -- MPs vote down the deal she has struck with the EU.
"Knowing you for 20 years, I just don't believe that if your deal goes down, you are the kind of person who would contemplate taking this country into a no-deal situation.
Am I wrong?" asked opposition Labour MP Yvette Cooper. May answered: "It will be a decision for parliament... I've negotiated what I believe truly to be a good deal for the UK."
She also rejected calls for either a second referendum on Brexit or to delay Britain's departure if the deal is rejected in the December 11 vote.
"We would simply find ourselves in a period of more uncertainty and division," she said, adding: "It is absolutely important that we deliver on the vote that people gave."
The prime minister was also asked repeatedly whether she had a back-up plan. "I think it is important members of parliament focus on the nature of this vote.
This is an important point in our history," she said. She added however that if the deal is rejected, "some people would need to take some practical steps in relation to no deal".
The government on Wednesday published an assessment of the economic impact of Brexit, showing Britain would be worse off in any scenario outside the EU.
The Bank of England also warned that leaving without a deal would trigger a financial crisis.
May said: "Being inside the EU is not an option, so what we have to look at is what is the best option outside the EU because people have voted to leave the EU."