May’s “Hell Week” Hots Up

After a relatively quiet start, Theresa May’s “hell week” on Brexit is starting to hot up. ERG Vice-Chair Steve Baker has thrown down the gauntlet to the Government on Chequers, telling Today that “at least 40 MPs” would be prepared to vote against Chequers – after taking into account a major whipping operation from the Government. Baker is known for not exaggerating support, these numbers tally with Guido’s rolling spreadsheet of where MPs stand…

May’s Brexit position has come under further pressure following the intervention from former Chief Whip Mark Harper this morning. Harper, who backed Remain, dismisses the idea that the Government will be able to get Chequers through with Labour support and calls on May to pivot towards a Canada-style deal which he says she can “unite the party around”. Harper is the first Remain-supporting MP with Cabinet-level experience to back the ERG’s Brexit stance, Downing Street should be worried…

Meanwhile, DUP sources have rubbished suggestions that their position on a sea border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain has softened. Baker also turned his fire on May’s rumoured climbdown on the Irish backstop, which could see the UK agree to remain in the single market and customs union indefinitely until the EU decided that alternative arrangements were acceptable:

“If the backstop leaves the whole of the UK in the internal market of the EU together with the customs union indefinitely – because it seems like that the trigger to leave might be handed to the EU – if that were to be the backstop that would be so obviously unacceptable…”

Opposition is mounting from all sides and May hasn’t even made any further concessions yet. Where does she go from here?




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Quote of the Day

Downing Street sources tell Gary Gibbon

“… the lady’s not for pivoting.”

 

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