All ministers have to sell her Brexit plan

Lester Mason
July 8, 2018

Jacob Rees-Mogg said the deal Theresa May agreed with her Cabinet could be "worse" than a "no deal" Brexit and suggested it broke the Conservatives' manifesto promises.

At first glance the British proposals sit uneasily with repeated EU warnings that the United Kingdom can not "cherry pick" the benefits of EU membership, such as access to the tariff-free customs union and single market, without accepting the responsibilities, which include allowing the free movement of EU citizens to the UK.

During a day of discussions at the prime minister's Buckinghamshire retreat, ministers accepted the new trade plan would reduce the levels of access available to European markets.

In keeping with our commitments to uphold global standards, the United Kingdom and the European Union would also agree to maintain high regulatory standards for the environment, climate change, social and employment, and consumer protection - meaning we would not let standards fall below their current levels.

Ministers also stepped up preparations for a "no deal" on Brexit as Brussels will be reluctant to consider any plan which would risk splitting the single market.

However, Tory Brexiteers voiced concern at the agreement with the chairman of the campaign group "Leave Means Leave" accusing May of personally deceiving Brexit campaigners.

"May's Brexit means BRINO - "Brexit In Name Only" - a fake Brexit", John Longworth said.

Although there had been concerns about the knock-on effect such a position would have on the UK's ability to strike trade deals with the likes of the USA, there were enough "soothing words in there for Leavers", one source said.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier also made his feelings clear in Brussels, by telling May "there are still too many questions and too few answers".

As she held the crisis talks with her ministers, the chief executive of European plane maker Airbus, Tom Enders, accused the government of having "no clue or at least consensus on how to execute Brexit without severe harm".

She said there was a "willingness to sit down and talk" about the plans.

May was cautious on whether she will win the support of the EU, saying only that she had "been talking to European leaders over the last week or so". "I think that's a positive signal", he said.

She said the common rulebook would mean "British businesses will continue to be a rule-taker from the EU".

That fear was felt so strongly that Brexit campaigner and foreign minister Boris Johnson convened a crisis meeting of like-minded colleagues late on Thursday to discuss strategy to counter May's plan.

It would also involve the United Kingdom paying "due regard" to European Court of Justice rulings relating to the rules Britain will share with Brussels.

The UK would of course continue to play a strong role in shaping the worldwide standards that underpin them, and Parliament would have oversight of the incorporation of these rules into the UK's legal order - with the ability to choose not to do so, recognising that this would have consequences.

"This is a further step, an important further step, in our negotiations with the European Union", she said. "But this is good".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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