Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

Conservative lawmakers pile Brexit pressure on British PM May

Conservative lawmakers pile Brexit pressure on British PM May

The latest Tory infighting comes ahead of Theresa May assembling her cabinet this Friday at Chequers for critical Brexit discussions that will include a proposal for a third possible customs arrangement which follows the PM's long-favored "customs partnership" and the Brexiteers preferred highly-streamlined "maximum facilitation" option.

"We have convened all across the United Kingdom to ensure that every business community's Brexit concerns can be heard by elected representatives and officials".

Cabinet ministers have not been briefed on any alternative to the "new customs partnership", which would see the United Kingdom collect tariffs on behalf of the European Union, or the Brexiteers' favoured "max fac" model involving streamlined arrangements and the use of technology to reduce friction.

The letter from Conservative lawmakers adds to the pressure on the prime minister, who has so far been reluctant to spell out detailed Brexit plans because of the rifts inside her own cabinet over the terms of Britain's biggest foreign policy shift for decades.

A Downing Street spokesman declined to comment on the BBC report.

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A Cabinet source said: "In the speculation "will there be fudge, won't there be fudge" - I suspect there will be".

Following the Cabinet meeting, Mrs May flew to the Netherlands for talks with Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte, who called for more "clarity" on the UK's plans.

"All the prime minister says on Brexit is, 'We need clarity about our future relationship.' Yes we do: we've been waiting for over two years for any clarity from this government".

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Hague said any minister who chose the Chequers summit as the moment to resign would show they were not fit to hold high office in the first place.

He said: "Flouncing out, just when the going gets tough but when the EU Withdrawal Act has been successfully enacted, will look like evading responsibility for choices that were inevitable just when important progress has been made".

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However, senior EU officials have already dismissed the prime minister's draft Brexit plan as unrealistic, saying the United Kingdom has no chance of changing the European Union's founding principles.

On Monday, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson gave him support after a backlash from senior Tories for saying the Prime Minister must deliver the Brexit she promised or risk collapsing her Government.

"Get behind the Prime Minister and deliver what the British people wanted which is coming out of the European Union".

"Everyone threatening Theresa May with chaos, revolt, resignations and a leadership election if she doesn't do as they wish needs to think carefully about what might be the consequences of their actions", he said.

"With less than nine months go to until Brexit day, we are little closer to the answers businesses need than we were the day after the referendum".

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"What I can't stand is this fantasy that there will be no economic impact at all if we simply walk away from the European Union".

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