Jacob Rees-Mogg 'to ambush Theresa May' with rival Chequers plan
Jacob Reees-Mogg - Image credit: PA Images
Tory eurosceptics are set to unveil a hard Brexit rival to Theresa May's controversial Chequers plan just days before the Conservative party conference, it has emerged.
The Prime Minister's Brexit proposals - designed to minimise trade disruption and avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland - sparked fury from Brexiteers, who believe they will leave the UK too closely bound to the European Union.
The Sun reports that top Conservative Eurosceptics, led by European Research Group chair Jacob Rees-Mogg, are now preparing to present their own "Clean Brexit" plan on the eve of the party's big gathering in September.
A source told the paper: "This is about delivering the clean Brexit that people voted for. No concessions."
The Times meanwhile reports that the policy paper - which will aim to win the backing of up to 80 Conservative MPs - will strike a hardline stance with the EU.
The proposal in its current form would see Britain agree to a Canada-style free trade agreement with the bloc if Brussels drops its demands on the Irish border.
A source told the Times: "We have made it very clear that we do not accept the Chequers proposals, but there is an acknowledgement that we need to make the case for an alternative.
"The tricky bit is coming to a common position that everyone can sign up to, but I’m confident that we should be able to achieve that."
According to the paper, the rival plan will also talk up the benefits of leaving the European Union without a deal if the EU refuses to give ground - a move that would see the UK trade on World Trade Organisation terms.
Under its deal with the EU, Canada has near tariff-free trade in goods, but still faces some regulatory barriers to trade and more limited access for services than it would as part of the European single market.
However, Canada is free to strike its own trade deals with the rest of the world and does not have to contribute financially to the bloc - two areas where the Brexiteers believe Mrs May's plan falls short.
The reports follow a claim in the Telegraph yesterday that moderate Tory MPs are set to form their own parliamentary group to fight against the hard-Brexit team.