Theresa May facing revolt from Brexit-backing ministers as Cabinet gathers for Chequers showdown

Written by Kevin Schofield on 6 July 2018 in News

Up to seven of the Prime Minister’s top team could reject her plans for Brexit

Cabinet meeting at Chequers - Image credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images

Theresa May is facing a full-scale revolt by Brexit-backing ministers as the Cabinet meets at Chequers to finally sign off the UK Government's approach to quitting the EU.

Up to seven members of her top team, including Boris Johnson, David Davis and Michael Gove, could formally reject Number 10's plan for breaking the deadlock.

They are angry at the Prime Minister's proposal to effectively keep Britain in the single market for goods, but not for services.

The plan would also see "harmonisation" of regulations between Britain and the EU in an attempt to maintain an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, potentially scuppering the chances of a free trade deal between the UK and America.

The rebel ministers, who also include Leave supporters like Penny Mordaunt and Andrea Leadsom, held crunch talks at the Foreign Office last night to discuss their response to May's proposal.

It is thought that they could present their own vision of a harder Brexit based on the deal struck between the EU and Canada at today's meeting, which is scheduled to last from 9.30am until 10pm.

In a sign of how precarious the Prime Minister's position is, deputy chief whip Chris Pincher texted some Tory MPs last night urging them to tweet that she was "delivering on the will of the people and we need a united party to deliver her vision".

One MP told Holyrood’s sister website PoliticsHome it was "desperate stuff", while another who did not receive the text message added: "I suspect they judge I'm with those who actually want to deliver Brexit, not her vision of it".

Meanwhile, May herself said the Cabinet had a "duty" to agree a united Brexit approach.

In a statement issued ahead of the Chequers summit, she said: "Now is the time for another step forward.

“We want a deal that allows us to deliver the benefits of Brexit – taking control of our borders, laws and money and by signing ambitious new trade deals with countries like the US, Australia and New Zealand. 

"This is about agreeing an approach that delivers decisively on the verdict of the British people – an approach that is in the best interests of the UK and the EU, and crucially, one that commands the support of the public and Parliament."

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