May secures cabinet agreement on Brexit plan

09 Julio, 2018, 19:39 | Author: Arnold Perez
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Taking aim at eurosceptic ministers, he said: "No resignations means that the so-called Brexiteers in cabinet don't have a principle between them".

All members of the Cabinet have signed up to the proposals, but backbench Brexiteers have hit out at the plans, with speculation at Westminster that some could be prepared to submit formal letters calling for a leadership contest.

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith told the Sunday Telegraph said if the public perceive Mrs May's plan as "continued membership" of the customs union and single market for goods, the government "will suffer the consequences at the next election".

He added: 'I am a realist, you should not make the ideal the enemy of the good. One of the things about this compromise is that it unites the cabinet.

THERESA May sought to bind internal critics into publicly supporting her Brexit policy, sending ministers out to make the case for it in newspapers and on the airwaves, as opponents on both sides began to point out shortfalls with her proposals.

Despite his reservations, Mr Johnson fell into line along with the rest of the Cabinet's Brexit-backing ministers.

For May, it was a hard-won victory.

Seven of the 30 ministers present at the meeting spoke out against May's Brexit plan but all MPs backed it by the end of the summit.

Her strategy pushes to keep Britain inside a free-trade area for goods with the EU, while also committing to ending the free movement of people and the supremacy of the European court.

"The only challenge that needs to be made now is to the European Union to get serious about this, to come round the table and discuss it with us", she told the Sunday Times.

According to The Times, the prime minister was "uncompromising" during the discussion of the agreement and even promised to dismiss Foreign Minister Boris Johnson if he tried to undermine the treaty.

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"We have also agreed a new business-friendly customs model with freedom to strike new trade deals around the world".

But time is running out to secure a deal before Britain leaves the bloc in March.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG) of Conservative MPs, refused to condemn the plan outright.

He added that "it is possible that this deal is worse" than a "no deal" Brexit.

The Prime Minister was then quick to be the first to get out her version of what had been agreed by giving an interview to the BBC's political editor who had been waiting all day.

Opposition Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said May's proposal had "fudge written all over it".

Rees-Mogg, once spoken of as a successor to May as Prime Minister, said he was waiting to see the full details of the proposals, adding: "If it turns out that it is a punishment Brexit, that it is keeping us in the European Union in all but name, I will stick to the Conservative party's manifesto commitments and will not vote for it".

Labour's opposition, combined with complaints from some of the Conservatives' strongly anti-EU faction, means May could face a tough task in getting lawmakers to back a final deal.

A source close to Mr Johnson said that the only people who would be pleased if he stepped down would be European Union commission president Jean Claude Juncker, German chancellor Angela Merkel and European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

And she has again urged Brussels to be more "flexible" and give the plan a hearing. May still wants to be able to agree separate trade agreements with non-EU countries, while Britain would collect customs duties on behalf of the EU.

Doing so would allow the United Kingdom to set its own tariff rates, and negotiate its own trade deals.

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