Gove urges Tory MPs to back May's Brexit plan as backlash builds

09 July, 2018, 02:41 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • GETTYigel Farage has attacked Theresa May’s Soft Brexit blueprint

Theresa May has faced down the Brexiteers in her Cabinet to win agreement on a new plan for a "business friendly" UK-EU trade deal.

One of Britain's most vocal anti-EU cabinet ministers publicly endorsed Prime Minister Theresa May's plan to keep Britain in a free trade zone for goods with the European Union, a sign she has so far averted a revolt against a new proposal for a soft Brexit.

Other ministers in his department, including Steve Baker and Suella Braverman are said to have agreed a "you go, we go" pact with Mr Davis, suggesting Mrs May could find herself having to replace the entire Brexit department if she.

She said ministers had "an opportunity - and a duty" to reach agreement on a plan which would command the support of both the public and Parliament.

Gove's decision to back the prime minister was understood to have played a key role in persuading his fellow cabinet Brexiters to agree to the plan, which includes a new customs proposal and a free trade area for goods, although he said the government must also do more to prepare for a "no-deal" Brexit.

Commentators said alignment on goods could reduce the UK's flexibility to strike trade deals with other countries, particularly the United States which would want an agreement allowing its farm products, produced to different standards, into the British market.

But as May followed up the deal with a letter to all MPs stressing collective Cabinet responsibility would apply, it was clear that several Brexiteers had only made a decision to back down because they were outnumbered by 18 to seven.

Since Friday, several more Conservative MPs were said to have added their names to a list supporting a vote of no confidence, although No 10 insiders have indicated May would fight any challenge and the numbers looked to be in her favour.

Among other things, Mr Johnson described the PM's proposals as "a big turd".

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.

Boris Johnson was joking but his frustration was self-evident.

Ireland's foreign minister said on Sunday the proposal was a significant move towards a much less disorderly Brexit, though tough negotiations still lie ahead. "I'm disappointed that so-called Brexiters in the cabinet didn't pick up the cudgels and fight for a better offer".

"This isn't the end point, I'm quite sure it isn't the end point".

Asked what the common rulebook with the European Union on food products would mean for the proposed USA trade deal, Mr Grayling told Today: "There may be individual issues to address in future trade talks".

Gove conceded that the Conservatives' lack of majority in the Commons meant parliamentary arithmetic was a factor in deciding what could be adopted.

The full "White Paper" on Brexit is expected to be published by Thursday, when there could be demands for another Commons statement, possibly by the Brexit Secretary David Davis.

"Our proposal will create a UK-EU free trade area which establishes a common rule book for industrial goods and agricultural products", she said.

Mr Davis reportedly "decided he couldn't sell out his own country", according to sources close to him, and wanted to "honour his manifesto promises".

The government still has to negotiate a deal with Brussels, where sources warned the customs compromise looked very similar to the so-called new customs partnership the European Union rejected as "magical thinking" 11 months ago.


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