Brexit pressure on Theresa May is mounting as Cabinet ministers urge her to shift towards a Canada-style deal if the EU rejects her Chequers plan.
Senior figures including Sajid Javid, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Dominic Raab are said to harbour doubts over the PM’s insistence that no deal is the only alternative to her blueprint.
They are keen to avoid a situation where the EU rejects the Chequers proposal at a crunch summit next months and negotiations essentially collapse without a ‘Plan B’.
However, the group have not presented any new solutions to the issue of the Irish border, according to The Times.
Theresa May (pictured at the UN in New York yesterday) has said a Canada-style deal is worse than no deal because it does not solve the Irish border issues
Senior figures including Sajid Javid (left) and Jeremy Hunt (right) are said to harbour doubts over the PM’s insistence that no deal is the only alternative to her blueprint
The political problems facing Mrs May have also been underlined after ex-Home Secretary Amber Rudd warned that at least 40 Tory MPs are ready to vote against a Canada-style agreement.
The latest wrangling within government emerged as Jeremy Corbyn moved to exploit Mrs May’s woes.
The Labour leader used his conference speech to insist Mrs May must call a general election unless she is prepared to drop her red line against joining a customs union with the EU.
Mr Corbyn couched his demand as ‘reaching out’ to the PM to get a ‘sensible deal’ through parliament – but it was denounced by Tories as a naked attempt to gain power.
Accepting a customs union would almost certainly spell the end of Mrs May’s time in Downing Street and plunge the Tories into turmoil.
Mrs May said this week that a Canada-style deal was worse than no deal because it would not solve the Irish border issues.
She has flatly rejected EU calls for Northern Ireland to stay in its jurisdiction for customs, saying that would effectively break up the UK.
At a Cabinet meeting earlier this week, no ministers spoke out against her Chequers plan or in favour of a Canada-style arrangement.
Mrs May told her team that her blueprint was the only one ‘on the table’ that protected trade and prevented a hard Irish border.
The latest wrangling within government emerged as Jeremy Corbyn (pictured at Labour conference yesterday) moved to exploit Mrs May’s woes
The political problems facing Mrs May have also been underlined after ex-Home Secretary Amber Rudd (file picture) warned that at least 40 Tory MPs are ready to vote against a Canada-style agreement.
Mrs May insisted she remained ‘confident’ that there would be agreement with the EU, but the Government was ‘sensibly planning for no deal’.
However, some ministers including Mr Hunt have pointedly refused to rule out shifting to a Canada-style model.
The prospect would not go down well with many MPs on the Remain wing of the Tory party.
Ms Rudd told ITV’s Peston last night: ‘I’ve talked to a number of colleagues, and I think conservatively there are about 40 of us who would not support a Canada-style deal.’