ERG Brokering Brexit Party Stand Down Terms with Downing Street

Guido understands despite Farage’s public offer of an electoral pact being rejected by Boris, behind the scenes the ERG is trying to broker an understanding. Farage told an ERG MP yesterday he would be “looking very closely” at the Tory manifesto, as the pair discussed the ERG’s demands that Boris makes an explicit commitment to keep ‘No Deal’ on the table during the future relationship negotiations. This morning Andrew Bridgen spoke with Downing Street and CCHQ, Farage’s hint that he would stand down candidates if the ERG’s demands were met was reportedly “well-received”. Is Farage looking to dig out of his hole?

Several ERG MPs also met with Boris this morning in CCHQ, where Tory candidates and MPs were taking photos with the PM for election literature. The ERG want the Tory manifesto to include an explicit reference that the aim of the next phase of negotiations with the EU is for a simple FTA and that if no agreement is made by the end of 2020, Britain will leave on WTO terms. Last week The Times reported that Boris will remove the threat of ‘No Deal’ from the Conservative manifesto, however, several ERG MPs have told Guido this would be akin to “surrender”. Steve Baker tells Guido: Having condemned the Surrender Act it would totally bizarre to enter FTA negotiations and rule out leaving with No Deal.”

Downing Street seems to agree, this morning the PM’s spokesman categorically ruled out extending the transition beyond 2020, “the government will not be extending the transition period”. Which means there will be a year to hammer out and finalise a free trade agreement. Easily doable given the UK-EU’s existing total regulatory alignment…


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