Monday, 17 December, 2018

May bows to pressure from Tory Brexiteers over customs plan

Theresa May has been hit by two high-profile resignations in a day Image Theresa May says there is no alternative to the Chequers plan
Kenny Thornton | 16 July, 2018, 23:52

North Cornwall MP Scott Mann quit as a ministerial aide to the Treasury, with the former postman saying he would not "deliver a watered-down Brexit".

To win, the prime minister has to win over half of the Tory party's 316 MPs, and if she does, another no-confidence vote could not be held for 12 months.

After what had been a disastrous week for Brexit, following the resignations of key figureheads David Davis and Boris Johnson, the prime minister now has to come to terms with even more divisions within her own party.

Business minister Greg Clark urged party members to get behind the prime minister's plan: "When it comes to Parliament, I hope and expect that it will be persuasive that what is on offer will be good for the United Kingdom, it would be good for every part of the U.K".

It was not clear the move would fundamentally change her plans - the changes do little more than to put government policy into law, her spokesman said - but it was a victory of sorts for those MPs who say May has betrayed them on Brexit, the biggest shift in British trade and foreign policy for decades.

He said: "I can't possibly dress it up in any other words than it's an absolute shambles and a self-inflicted shambles by Number 10".

It was unclear whether they will actually press them to a vote after some pro-EU MPs backed Mrs May's Chequers plan and EU white paper.

Justine Greening has called for a second referendum, labelling the prime minister's Brexit deal a "fudge".

Les Bleus touch down in Paris for victory parade
The Etoile station is, for now, "On a 2 Etoiles" (We have 2 stars), to denote France's second World Cup victory. The win "shows that the French people are consolidated and the work of all France", said Omar Bzi.

Ms Greening, who resigned after the cabinet reshuffle in January, said the referendum should offer a first and second preference vote so that a consensus can be reached.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, an arch eurosceptic who proposed the amendments, said he did not expect the bill, or another bill on trade due to be debated on Tuesday, to be blocked outright by the 650-member parliament.

That's unacceptable. The only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians, away from the backroom deals, and give it back to the people.

This is despite it being the first meeting held to discuss foreign policy at the European Union since Hunt was appointed to his new role. "But Britain needs to find a route forward", the MP for Putney told the BBC Radio 4's Today program. "I will evaluate those core principles against the Brexit white paper and ensure that I vote in line with those wishes", he wrote.

Discussing the Prime Minister's Chequers plan for Brexit she said: "I don't think it can work".

The idea of a referendum sequel has always been popular among Remainers - those who voted to stay in the European Union - who believe that the campaign around Brexit was infused with lies and propaganda, and that Leavers, their opponents, never had a coherent plan for withdrawal.

Some in the pro-EU faction have also rejected the plan.

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