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Trade unions marching to get the Tories out
TORY MP Andrew Bridgen has called PM May’s pledges about the EU, made at Chequers ‘a pretence and charade intended to dupe the electorate’. Writing in The Mail on Sunday, Bridgen said the ‘time has come for a new (Tory) leader’ which he believes should be Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith told The Sunday Telegraph if the public perceive May’s plan as ‘continued membership’ of the customs union and single market, the government ‘will suffer the consequences at the next election’.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson at Friday’s get-together in Chequers claimed that defending PM May’s plans was like ‘polishing a turd’. Johnson told colleagues the proposals could be a ‘serious inhibitor to free trade’. Despite these claims the Foreign Secretary backed them.

After ministers signed up to the deal late on Friday night, May said the time for ministers to air their concerns in public was over and collective cabinet responsibility had been re-instated. Friends of Johnson say he is staying in the cabinet to ‘make the argument for Brexiteers’ and that he had strongly criticised May’s plan for the UK’s future relationship with the EU before agreeing to back it at Friday’s cabinet meeting. He made the argument that May’s plan would leave the UK as a ‘vassal state’ and warned the plan could be a ‘serious inhibitor to free trade’.

However, Tory Environment Secretary Michael Gove said yesterday that PM May’s deal agreed at Chequers on Friday was a compromise that would lead to a ‘proper Brexit’. However, he told The Andrew Marr Show that the UK should be prepared to walk away if the EU was not willing to negotiate. Gove said the May plan ‘honoured’ the 2016 referendum vote as the UK would be outside EU institutions and structures, claiming it ‘achieved all of the things we campaigned for’.

Although the UK would sign up to EU rules on goods, he said the UK would have the ‘sovereign ability’ to diverge where it wanted and that this autonomy would apply across ‘a swathe of the economy’.

Asked by Marr if the proposed deal was everything he had hoped for, Gove replied: ‘No, but I am a realist,’ adding that cabinet unity was important. The Environment Secretary added that if the EU did not show flexibility, the UK may have to ‘contemplate walking away without a deal’. He said: ‘No-one wants to walk away now because we are in the middle of a negotiation. What we need to do is to be able to walk away in March 2019.’


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