Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Rebel Conservative MPs accuse Theresa May of surrendering to the EU

Simon Coveney Image Simon Coveney says Ireland is preparing for no-deal
Melinda Barton | 23 October, 2018, 13:23

British Prime Minister Theresa May has told parliament that 95 percent of the terms of Brexit have been agreed, saying she's hopeful the remaining five percent can be resolved soon.

But it angered Brexiteer colleagues in May's ruling Conservative party who fear remaining tied to the European Union for years after Britain's formal departure next March.

"This government is leading us towards either a bad Brexit deal or, even worse, no deal at all".

"The second step is to create an option to extend the implementation period as an alternative to the backstop".

Pro-Brexit MPs Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg also featured in the "war-game" according to the paper, alongside pro-EU People's Vote director James McGrory.

But as she spoke to MPs the Prime Minister knew that some of her harshest critics were not opposite her but on her own side.

Leave-supporting Conservative MPs have been restless ever since May revealed her Chequers blueprint for leaving the EU.

On the pro Brexit side, former minister David Davis criticized May in a column in the right-wing, anti-Europe newspaper the Daily Mail, saying that "even the most charitable verdict on last week's Brexit talks in Brussels can hardly describe them as a success".

Last week, May indicated she could accept extending the transition period in which the United Kingdom would remain subject to the customs union and single market beyond December 2020 in an attempt to reach a free-trade agreement that would prevent the backstop being used. Brussels is now considering this but has not been prepared to accept the proposal so far. Those include a general election, a Tory leadership contest, or another Brexit referendum.

"It's a curious conflation of interests and thinking from diametrically opposed viewpoints", Tannock told BI.

An estimated 700,000 protesters, led by young voters, marched through London on Saturday.

He admitted that there was a lot of "fear and frustration" in the party and said that "people are exasperated about where we are and it is easy in those circumstances to take that out on the team captain". Tory MPs including Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Dr Philip Lee are already supporters of the campaign, plus a host of Labour, Lib Dem and Green MPs.

Mr Redwood argued so far the United Kingdom has already achieved the Brexit Britons voted for thanks to two important pieces of legislation approved by Parliament.

The prime minister was updating parliament on a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels last week, where she attempted to make progress on an agreement on the terms of the UK's withdrawal from the bloc.

"A number of MEPs I have spoken to who fully understand that their governments must tow the line and be as tough as possible, not to blink", he said.

When asked if May was hanging by a thread, Raab said it was a pretty strong thread and that there were reports every week that almost 48 Tory MPs had written to Brady demanding a vote of no confidence.

It is not clear if Mr Raab's comments signal a clear split between Mrs May and her Brexit secretary on the issue. "As a result, Britain is in danger of wasting the opportunities of Brexit".