Posts Tagged ‘Boris Johnson’

Brexit poll: voters turn to far right, Boris Johnson — and Remain

July 23, 2018

Theresa May is facing an unprecedented political crisis, according to a new poll that reveals voters are implacably opposed to her Brexit plan and are prepared to turn to Ukip or parties of the far right.

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About one-third of voters think Boris Johnson would make a better job of Brexit than Theresa MayDAN KITWOOD

In a survey that will spark unease in Downing Street, the YouGov poll found that the public believes Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, is better placed to negotiate with Brussels and lead the Conservatives into the next election.

The Times

It highlights how voters are polarising, with growing numbers alienated from the two main parties. About 38% would vote for a new party on the right that was committed to Brexit, while 24% are prepared to support an explicitly far-right anti-immigrant, anti-Islam party.

One in three voters are prepared to…

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BBC News

Newspaper headlines: ‘Voters turn to far right’ over Brexit

  • 22 July 2018
Theresa MayImage copyrightPA

The Sunday Times leads on polling which it says shows Theresa May is facing an “unprecedented political crisis.”

The YouGov data indicates the public is unhappy with the Chequers Brexit deal and believes Boris Johnson is better placed to lead negotiations with the EU.

It also suggests the Conservatives face being squeezed at both ends of the political spectrum, with more than a third of the public willing to support a new hard Brexit party, with roughly the same proportion interested in a new party dedicated to stopping the UK leaving the EU.

“Voters are united on one point”, the paper says in its editorial, “they don’t like what they see”.

That sentiment also extends to the Liberal Democrats, according to the Mail on Sunday.

It reports that Sir Vince Cable is facing a plot to unseat him as leader, with party members unhappy that he missed a key Commons vote on Brexit last week.

One unnamed senior Lib Dem tells the paper it is time to find a younger leader and “sweep away the fossil”.

Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab replaced David Davis, who quit in protest at Theresa May’s trade policy

“No trade deal, no cash for the EU” is the headline in the Sunday Telegraph.

It has spoken to the new Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, who says the UK needs to make clear to Brussels that the so-called divorce bill and establishing a trade framework are linked.

“You can’t have one side fulfilling its side of the bargain and the other side not,” he tells the paper.


Brexit: Britain might not pay €44 billion divorce bill if there is no UK-EU free trade deal, warns Dominic Raab

July 22, 2018

Britain wants the EU to agree to a post-Brexit free trade deal; the EU wants Britain to pay its financial obligations after it leaves the bloc next year. British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab says both are linked.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab (picture-alliance/abaca/ANDBZ/T. Monasse)

Britain might not pay a promised 39 billion pound ($51 billion, €44 billion) divorce bill to the European Union if both sides fail to reach a post-breakup free trade deal, Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator hinted on Sunday.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab told Britain’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper that EU law governing the talks required London and Brussels to negotiate their post-Brexit relationship alongside a divorce deal.

Read more: Dominic Raab is UK’s new Brexit secretary

Talks on the divorce deal experienced a breakthrough in December, with Britain conceding to EU demands that it pay its remaining financial obligations after it plans to leave the bloc in March 2019.

But the EU has remained skeptical about British demands for the post-Brexit relationship, including a blueprint free trade deal proposed by British Prime Minister Theresa May in early July.

“You can’t have one side fulfilling its side of the bargain and the other side not, or going slow, or failing to commit on its side,” Raab said. “So I think we do need to make sure that there’s some conditionality between the two.”

British divisions

Raab’s veiled threat was the latest sign of division within May’s conservative cabinet over Britain’s Brexit policy. Chancellor Philip Hammond, Britain’s finance minister who favors close ties to the EU after Brexit, had previously said it would be “inconceivable” for London to not pay the bill.

Read more: EU Customs Union, Single Market, Brexit — What you need to know

May was forced to accept the resignation of Raab’s hardline predecessor, David Davis, and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson two weeks ago after they said her post-Brexit free trade deal proposal would keep Britain too close to the EU.

Raab’s EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, also expressed doubts about the proposal during their first meeting on Friday.

Both sides are hoping to reach a Brexit deal by October to give national parliaments enough time for its ratification. Disagreements about the status of the border between Northern Ireland, a British territory, and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state, have also been plaguing the talks for months.

amp/rc (AP, AFP)


Dominic Raab: We can get Brexit deal done by October

July 22, 2018

A deal with the EU can be reached by October but the UK is preparing for the possibility of no deal, the new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has said.

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Brexit secretary Dominic Raab

He said he would return to Brussels for talks on Thursday and strain “every sinew” to get “the best deal”.

But a responsible government puts plans in place in case talks do not end well, he told the BBC.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said there must be a “serious stepping up of negotiations” to avoid no deal.

Mr Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show if the “energy, ambition and pragmatism” the UK brought to negotiations was reciprocated, a deal would be done in October. He noted that 80% of the withdrawal agreement was already settled.

And he said it was “useful” that EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier had raised questions about the prime minister’s blueprint for the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.

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Michel Barnier

“Actually the fact Michel Barnier is not blowing it out of the water but asking questions is a good, positive sign – that’s what we negotiate on.”

But he said preparations such as hiring extra border staff were being made because “any responsible government” would make sure plans were in place in case negotiations failed.

Technical notices would be released for businesses and citizens affected during the summer to be “very clear about what they should do and what we are doing on their behalf” he added.

Asked about European Commission comments that there were no arrangements in place for UK and EU expats in the event of no deal, Mr Raab said: “Well, I think that’s a rather irresponsible thing to be coming from the other side.

“We ought to be trying to reassure citizens on the continent and also here. There is obviously an attempt to try and ramp-up the pressure.”

Presentational grey line

The ‘no deal’ talk continues

Analysis by Jonathan Blake, BBC political correspondent

We’ve heard it often enough: “No deal is better than a bad deal”.

But for EU negotiators to believe the UK would walk away without agreement, the government has to be seen to be taking that option seriously.

And so we are told about “planning” and “technical notices” to prepare for a “clean break” Brexit.

Reports of food stockpiles and a motorway becoming a lorry park are dismissed as “unhelpful snippets” but contingency plans will be made nonetheless.

Both sides agree a deal needs to be reached by October, and negotiations are likely to go down to the wire.

So even if a deal appears to be in sight, expect the talk of the UK leaving the EU without one to continue.

Presentational grey line

He added that the prospect of people being removed from the UK was “far-fetched and fanciful” and said it would be “frankly irrational” for the EU to go for the “worst case scenario” of no deal.

But the UK had to be prepared “whether it’s the allocation of money, preparation of our treaty relations, we are hiring extra border staff and I think people need to know that we ready so that Britain can thrive, whatever happens,” he said.

Labour leader Mr Corbyn, on a visit to the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival in Dorset, said it seemed the priority was preparation for no deal.

He added: “No deal would be a very bad deal because we then go onto World Trade Organisation tariff rates that would hit the manufacturing industry and hit the food processing industry and hit an awful lot of things in Britain very rapidly.

“There has to be a serious stepping-up of negotiations to reach an agreement on customs and on trade.”

The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019, but the two sides have yet to agree how trade will work between the UK and the EU afterwards.

Theresa May hopes the government’s plan, detailed in the Brexit White Paper, will allow the two sides to reach a deal on relations by the autumn.

Earlier Mr Raab suggested to the Sunday Telegraph that he was still persuading other cabinet ministers that the government’s “pragmatic” strategy for leaving the EU was the “best plan” and that the UK could refuse to pay its so-called divorce bill, a payment from the UK to the EU estimated to be about £39bn, if it does not get a trade deal.

‘Additional burdens’

Theresa May’s proposal for a future trade relationship with the EU sparked two cabinet resignations, including Mr Raab’s predecessor David Davis.

The White Paper proposes close ties in some areas, such as the trade in goods, but will end free movement and the jurisdiction of the European Court, and allow the UK to strike trade deals with other nations.

Critics at Westminster say it is an unworkable compromise which would leave the UK being governed by the EU in many areas, but with no say in its rules.

And EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier questioned on Friday whether UK plans for a common rulebook for goods and agri-foods were practical and said the EU would not run the risk of weakening its single market.

Meanwhile, Mr Davis, whose resignation from Mrs May’s top team was followed by that of former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, told the Sunday Express the government should “start again” on withdrawal plans.


Britain’s Brexit plan ‘savaged by EU’ — “The prime minister’s plan has failed”

July 22, 2018

David Davis is somewhere saying, “I told you so…”

No automatic alt text available.

The Daily Mail and Daily Express are scathing about Michel Barnier’s criticism of Theresa May’s Brexit plans.

“Now there’s a surprise” is the Mail’s response – pointing out that the EU’s chief negotiator is concerned the proposals will “give UK firms a competitive edge”.

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Michel Barnier

Both papers quote the Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, who accuses the EU of being “mafia-like” and insists Mr Barnier’s “aggressive” language proves Britain was right to vote to leave.

According to the Spectator, the prime minister’s “plan has failed”. It believes Mrs May’s Chequers gambit “could lead to the fall of the government and the ceding of power to the most left-wing Labour administration in history”.

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The former government minister Anna Soubry tells the Guardian that Mrs May has capitulated to what she calls “the forces of darkness” and is being run by Mr Rees-Mogg’s faction within her party.

Ms Soubry says that she, and around a dozen rebels who support a soft Brexit, cannot be relied upon to vote for any final deal.

Meanwhile, the i newspaper says pro-Leave Conservatives are warning the prime minister that she faces more resignations if she makes additional concessions on Brexit.

Boris JohnsonImage copyright PA


“BoJo no go” is the Daily Mirror’s headline as it reveals that former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is yet to leave his official government residence, almost a fortnight after he quit over Brexit.

The paper says he’s expected to spend another few weeks staying rent-free in the mansion.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has urged Mrs May to follow the example of Nigel Lawson by cutting taxes to encourage growth.

He is said to have told the cabinet earlier this week that giving people “more power over their own money” would generate greater revenue and strengthen the economy.



Education Secretary Damian Hinds makes a promise in the Guardian to relieve the stress placed on teachers in England – admitting that the workload is the “number one” complaint among them.

Mr Hinds says he will “end the constant cycle of reforms”. He also suggests schools are “on a par with the NHS as a special case for extra government spending”.


Politics Home carries a suggestion by the shadow sports minister, Rosena Allin-Khan, that England fans were afraid to display the flag of St George during the World Cup because of its association with “far-right ideology”.

The Conservative MP for Shrewsbury, Daniel Kawczynski, rejects the claim in the Daily Telegraph, insisting a “huge number” of his constituents flew the flag.

The Daily Mail says there was “anger” on Twitter as users accused Labour of “knocking everything patriotic”.

Theresa May in Northern Ireland to defend Brexit plan

July 20, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May will tell the people of Northern Ireland on Friday that her Brexit plan is the best way to avoid a hard border with Ireland, standing firm against critics in her own party.

Still reeling from the resignation last week of senior cabinet members and with her own political future uncertain, May will also call on the European Union to give some ground in talks on Britain’s departure from the bloc.

May flew to Northern Ireland on Thursday for a two-day visit to see up close the troubled British region’s frontier with EU-member Ireland, which has become one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the negotiations.

© Clodagh Kilcoy

After quitting the cabinet, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson singled out her treatment of the border as the biggest mistake of her negotiations with the EU for a smooth exit from the bloc next year.

May’s Brexit ‘white paper’, the policy document which prompted Johnson’s resignation, proposes negotiating the closest possible commercial links for goods trade to protect businesses and to fulfil a commitment to avoid having infrastructure on the border.

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Arlene Foster


Delighted to welcome the Prime Minister to Fermanagh & S. Tyrone – the most western constituency in the United Kingdom. Great discussion earlier with people who live and work on the border. . . Having dinner on the banks of Lough Erne – that’s RoI just across the water.

The 500-kilometre (300 mile) border has been largely invisible since army checkpoints were taken down after a 1998 peace deal ended three decades of violence between the region’s pro-British majority and an Irish nationalist minority. Over 3,600 died.

“The economic and constitutional dislocation of a formal ‘third country’ customs border within our own country is something I will never accept and I believe no British Prime Minister could ever accept,” May is to tell a crowd at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on Friday, according to the extracts of the speech provided by her office.

Instead, she will say that she believes the close regulatory alignment on goods trade as described in her white paper, will meet her commitment to prevent the “inconceivable” eventuality of a hard border.

It is “now for the EU to respond. Not simply to fall back onto previous positions which have already been proven unworkable. But to evolve their position in kind,” she will say, according to the text.

>> Focus: 20 years after Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland faces uncertain future

Politicians have warned that the re-imposition of physical infrastructure on the border when it becomes the EU’s external frontier would anger Irish nationalists in Northern Ireland who aspire to unification with the Republic of Ireland and help militants opposed to the peace deal to recruit new members.

May has refused to accept a “backstop” solution proposed by the European Union in which Northern Ireland would remain closely aligned with the European Union’s single market and customs union on the grounds that it would create a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Sinn Féin


Speaking as the British Prime Minister visited Fermanagh today, Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O’Neill accused Theresa May of attempting to renege on the commitments she made in December on Brexit.

Johnson on Wednesday told parliament that May had unnecessarily let the “readily soluble” border issue “become so politically charged as to dominate the debate” pushing May towards a close alignment with the EU he described as a “miserable, permanent limbo”.

“The process of withdrawal will be complex, and it will require hard work, serious work, and detailed work,” May will say in Belfast.

“The Government has done that work. The White Paper is our plan for the future.”

The first stop in May’s visit was the border village of Belleek in Fermanagh, the home county of pro-British Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster, whose party provides 10 votes in Britain’s lower house of parliament that May needs to govern.

She arrived in Belleek by helicopter before touring a pottery factory with Foster.

“This visit will enable Mrs May to speak with people who live, work and travel across the much talked about Irish border on a daily basis,” Foster said in an earlier statement.

On Friday May will meet the leadership of the largest Irish nationalist party, Sinn Fein.


Boris Johnson issues battle cry to block ‘botched’ Brexit

July 19, 2018

Former UK foreign secretary makes thinly veiled pitch for Conservative party leadership

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Boris Johnson delivers his resignation speech as foreign secretary to the Commons on Wednesday, using it as a thinly veiled pitch for the leadership of the Conservative party © AFP

By George Parker and Laura Hughes in London

Boris Johnson has drawn up the battle lines for the end game of Brexit, urging fellow Eurosceptics to join him in a fight to stop Theresa May signing a “botched treaty” with the EU and declaring: “It is not too late to save Brexit.”

The former foreign secretary’s Commons resignation statement on Wednesday was also a thinly veiled pitch for the Conservative party leadership, as he set himself as the standard bearer for a true Brexit.

The prime minister’s ability to deliver a Brexit deal in the autumn now hangs on whether Tory Eurosceptics follow Mr Johnson’s hardline stance, or if they heed her warning that Britain will end up staying in the EU should they torpedo her compromise plan.

The schism that has opened up on the Tory right over Brexit is now the biggest factor determining whether Mrs May can deliver an exit deal based on her “soft Brexit” plan that was thrashed out by the cabinet at Chequers, her country residence, this month.

While Mr Johnson and David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, quit the cabinet to lead resistance to the plan, many moderate Eurosceptics have swallowed the need for a compromise proposal that can win the support of MPs.

Environment secretary Michael Gove, trade secretary Liam Fox and the new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab are among the Eurosceptics calling for the party to unite behind Mrs May to make sure Britain leaves the EU on March 29 2019.

Mr Gove, backed by many moderate Conservative Eurosceptics, has been telling fellow Tories that the main task is to get Brexit “over the line” and that flaws in the exit treaty can be fixed once Britain has left.

Mr Johnson was scathing of that approach. “It is absolute nonsense to imagine, as I fear some of my colleagues do, that we can somehow afford to make a botched treaty now, and then break and reset the bone later on,” he told MPs.

Mr Johnson said that Mrs May’s Brexit plan, outlined in a white paper published last week, would leave Britain in a state of “miserable permanent limbo” and that the prime minister had come up with a “Heath Robinson” customs proposal.

Mrs May agreed a new strategy with cabinet colleagues this week intended to push more Eurosceptics into Mr Gove’s camp, by highlighting the risks to Brexit if MPs reject her deal in the autumn.

“We’ve all been asked to make the point that if the Commons votes down a deal, the result will not be a ‘no deal’ Brexit, it would be no Brexit at all,” said one cabinet minister.

Downing Street argued that if MPs rejected Mrs May’s deal, the Labour party would use an arcane parliamentary procedure known as a “humble address” to force a vote to stop Mrs May leading Britain out of the EU without a deal.

Most MPs are opposed to a “no deal” exit because of the economic chaos it would unleash, in spite of claims by Mr Johnson, Mr Davis and arch-Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg that Britain could simply trade with the EU on World Trade Organization terms.

“If we can’t agree on a deal or a no deal exit, the only way out would be to have a general election,” said the minister. “We would also come under pressure to have another referendum. Either way, Brexit would be in jeopardy.”

At a meeting of the 1922 committee of Conservative backbenchers on Wednesday, Mrs May urged MPs to back her. She was given a boost when one Eurosceptic, Simon Clarke, stood up in front of colleagues to say he was withdrawing his letter calling for a vote of confidence in the prime minister.

Mr Clarke said: “We all want Brexit to succeed: that is the reality. I don’t want to go into the summer feeling like the Conservative party is at war with itself.”

Mr Rees-Mogg agreed that the mood at the “end-of-term” meeting of the 1922 committee, which took place after several Commons votes on Brexit this week had highlighted Mrs May’s fragile grip, had been “very supportive” of the PM.

Mrs May joked with journalists before the meeting that she did not intend to watch a recording of Mr Johnson’s resignation speech, saying she would rather be attending to documents in her official red box instead.

Although Mrs May had to abandon her attempt to end the turmoil by bringing forward the date of the Commons summer recess to Thursday, in practice many MPs are already packing their bags.

They will not return to Westminster until early September, by which point Mrs May is meant to be in the final stages of negotiating the deal in Brussels that will make or break her premiership — and Britain’s future relations with the EU.


‘It’s not too late to save Brexit’, Boris Johnson tells UK parliament

July 18, 2018

Boris Johnson, Britain’s former foreign secretary who quit in protest at Theresa May’s plan for leaving the European Union, urged parliament on Wednesday to rethink its strategy, adding that the country would never get the chance to get it right again.

“It is not too late to save Brexit,” he said as he delivered his resignation speech. “We have time in these negotiations, we have changed tack once and we can change again.

“The problem is not that we failed to make the case for a Free Trade Agreement of the kind spelt out (by May) at Lancaster House, we haven’t even tried. We must try now because we will not get another chance to get it right.”


Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; writing by Kate Holton; editing by Stephen Addison

See also


Boris Johnson: It is not too late to save Brexit

Back UK PM May or face national election, Brexit rebels told

July 18, 2018

Pro-European Union rebels were threatened with a general election this summer if they defeated Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans on customs, a lawmaker said on Wednesday, threatening to widen rifts in the PM’s party.

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to representatives during a visit to the Airbus area at the Farnborough Airshow in Farnborough, England, Monday, July 16, 2018.

Photo: Matt Dunham, AP

Conservative whips, who enforce discipline in the party, threatened to call a confidence vote that could bring down the government before a crucial vote on Tuesday on customs, one lawmaker told Reuters. Rebel lawmaker Anna Soubry told BBC radio that the prospect of a national election was also raised.

“It was an appalling spectacle,” Soubry told BBC Radio 4, adding she had told a senior whip to “bring it on”.

“These nonsenses of threatening general elections, and votes of confidence in the prime minister … bring it on, because I shall be the first in the queue to give my vote of full confidence in the prime minister,” Soubry said. “Problem is, I don’t think she’s in charge any more.”

Conservative lawmakers fear an election, and the possible victory of veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn. Earlier this month, his Labour Party took a lead in the polls.

Labour also says the June 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union must be respected but has attacked the PM over the splits in her party.

In one of the most tumultuous periods in recent British political history, there have been four major votes in the past four years: the Scottish independence referendum of 2014, the 2015 UK election, the Brexit referendum of 2016 and the snap election called by May last year.

May narrowly avoided a defeat in parliament at the hands of the pro-EU lawmakers from her own party in Tuesday’s vote, helped by four opposition Labour lawmakers who went against their party to support the government. Turmoil over Brexit plans has hit the pound.

Parliament voted 307 to 301 against an amendment to trade legislation that would have required the government to try to negotiate a customs union arrangement with the EU if, by Jan. 21, 2019, it had failed to negotiate a frictionless free trade deal with the bloc.

On Monday, May infuriated Conservative lawmakers who want to keep the closest possible ties with the EU when she decided to accept a number of demands by hardline pro-Brexit MPs from her party.

That came after she had fought hard to get the agreement of cabinet ministers at her Chequers country residence earlier this month for her vision of Brexit. The cabinet deal was then undermined by the resignations of Brexit minister David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.


Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Alistair Smout; Editing by Catherine Evans

Theresa May prepares for a grilling from MPs

July 18, 2018

Theresa May will address Conservative MPs later following a week which has shown up her party’s Brexit divisions.

The meeting will be the prime minister’s last chance to rally backbenchers before the summer recess.

It will cap off a day which includes Prime Minister’s Questions and an appearance by Mrs May at the Liaison Committee of select committee chairs.

BBC News

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On Tuesday ministers saw off a bid by Tory rebels to create a customs union with the EU if a trade deal failed.

The rebel amendment to the trade bill was defeated by only six votes.

Twelve Conservatives rebelled against their party by supporting the amendment but the government’s total was boosted by the support of four Labour MPs.

Conservative Anna Soubry criticised colleagues who have a “gold-plated pension” and support Brexit

Conservative MPs were warned that voting for the amendment, and therefore against the government, could lead to a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, the BBC understands.

Prime Minister’s Questions will be Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s last opportunity to question Mrs May before Parliament breaks for the summer.

The prime minister will then head to the Liaison Committee – due to start at 15:00 BST.

The committee – which usually sits three times a year – is made up of the chairs of each select committee.

With more than 30 senior MPs from the main parties free to ask questions, the session could be lengthy.

Once that is over the prime minister will attend a meeting of the 1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs.

The meeting comes amid rumours that Tories seeking to remove Mrs May are close to getting the 48 signatures they need to trigger a no-confidence vote.

Such a vote could pave the way for a leadership election.

There has also been speculation that Boris Johnson – who resigned as foreign secretary after disagreeing with the prime minister’s vision of the future relationship with the EU brokered at Chequers – will take the opportunity to make a resignation speech in the Commons on Wednesday.

Chequers plan is dead, say Brexiteers, after Theresa May caves in over key areas

July 17, 2018

Tory Eurosceptics claimed to have killed off Theresa May’s Chequers deal on Monday night by forcing her to make changes that will leave it “dead on arrival” in Brussels.

Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The Prime Minister was forced to deny that her Brexit blueprint was fatally compromised after she caved in to four demands from Leave supporters in order to avoid a Commons rebellion over a key piece of Brexit legislation.

Jubilant Brexiteers believe Brussels will now reject the Chequers plan, forcing Mrs May to think again.

But with Tory divisions over Europe once again threatening to tear the party apart, Remain-supporting Conservatives, furious at Mrs May’s concessions, came close to inflicting a damaging defeat on the Government…

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Theresa May told her Chequers deal is ‘dead in the water’ after she caves in to pro-hard Brexit Tories on customs

Theresa May has faced taunts that her Chequers deal is “dead in the water” after caving in to a series of changes to customs rules demanded by pro-hard Brexit Tories.

Plans for the UK to collect duties for the EU – which lie at the heart of the prime minister’s hopes for a deal with Brussels – will only go forward if the EU in turn agrees to collect them for the UK.

Theresa May Photographer: Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

There appears to be no prospect of the EU bowing to such a request, apparently throwing the hard-fought Chequers proposals up in the air after just 10 days.

In the Commons, Ms May was accused of “dancing to the tune of the European Research Group” – the 60-80 strong organisation of Brexiteer MPs led by Jacob Rees-Mogg.

“By capitulating to their proposals on the Customs and [the] Trade Bill she is accepting that the Chequers deal is now dead in the water,” said Labour MP Stephen Kinnock.

Ms May insisted he was “absolutely wrong”, telling MPs: “I would not have gone through all the work that I did to ensure that we reached that agreement only to see it changed in some way through these bills. They do not change that Chequers agreement.”

Nevertheless, the Brexit white paper – published only four days ago – appeared to rule out a requirement for the EU to agree reciprocal arrangements.

It said the two sides would have to “agree a mechanism for the remittance of relevant tariff revenue”, but added: “The UK is not proposing that the EU applies the UK’s tariffs and trade policy at its border for goods intended for the UK.”

Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrat MP and supporter of the anti-Brexit Best for Britain group, said: “First Trump humiliated the prime minister and this week it’s his British fan club – Theresa May has caved in yet again.”

The controversy blew up as the government refused to deny rumours that the summer recess could be brought forward – to head off any backbench plot to bring down the prime minister.

A motion will be brought forward on Tuesday to end the parliamentary term on Thursday, Commons sources have said, thereby ditching plans to sit on Monday and Tuesday next week.

Ms May’s Tory opponents are collecting signatures to force a vote of no confidence in her leadership of the Conservative party, with 48 required.

If MPs are sent on their summer holidays this week, it will probably be impossible to stage that contest – giving the prime minister respite until the autumn at least.

No 10 confirmed the government was accepting all four ERG amendments to the Taxation Bill, formerly known as the Customs Bill – just hours after Greg Clark, the business secretary, insisted it would not.

One would enshrine in law that there can be no customs border down the Irish Sea – proposed by the EU as the “backstop” to avoid a hard Irish land border, without which there will be no withdrawal agreement.

Although Ms May has ruled out a border in the sea, she has been inching towards accepting the backstop on the basis that it would never be needed.

Another amendment would require the UK to have a separate VAT regime from the EU, which would kill off any prospect of Britain remaining in a customs union.

A No 10 spokesman defended accepting the amendments – which were debated at last week’s Independent subscribers’ event – saying: “We believe they are consistent with the white paper we published last week.”

But the cave-in triggered an extraordinary breakdown of Tory discipline in the Commons, as pro and anti-EU Tories traded insults.

When Anna Soubry mentioned Margaret Thatcher, Brexiteer Edward Leigh said: “I knew Margaret Thatcher. I worked for Margaret Thatcher. My honourable friend ain’t no Margaret Thatcher.”

Ms Soubry condemned the ERG’s “wrecking amendments” and accused the prime minister of being “frightened of somewhere in the region of 40” hard Brexit supporters.

“Who is in charge? Is it the prime minister or is it the honourable member for North East Somerset [Mr Rees-Mogg] – I know where my money is sitting at the moment,” she added.

“This government is in grave danger of not just losing the plot, but losing a considerable amount of support from the people of this country.”

Peter Dowd MP, a Labour treasury spokesman, said: “It took two years for the prime minister to reach her Chequers deal, but only two days for it to fall apart.

“The white paper lies in tatters, the government is in free fall and Theresa May has no authority left.”