May to Push ‘Soft Brexit’ with No U.S. Trade Deal, Brexiteers Threaten Rebellion
Theresa May is set to push for a watered-down Brexit at a crunch meeting of her cabinet Friday, in which the UK would not even be able to form a trade deal with the U.S., leaked documents suggest.
The revelation comes as reports claim seven Brexit-supporting ministers met Thursday night and could rebel if the Prime Minister abandons her promise to take back control of trade policy by leaving the Customs Union – as she is expected to do.
Cabinet members will be told to leave their phones outside the meeting and those who cannot swallow the Brexit betrayal and resign will immediately be stripped of their ministerial cars and abandoned in the Buckinghamshire countryside, sources toldThe Times.Ahead of the meeting, on Thursday afternoon, ministers received a paper, leaked to the Spectator, that states: “The UK should maintain a common rulebook for all goods including agri-food.”
It adds that the UK will make “an upfront choice to commit by treaty to ongoing harmonisation with EU rules on goods”.
Mrs May’s plan could outright stop the UK forming a comprehensive free-trade deal with America.
Reacting to the news, Brexit leader Nigel Farage wrote: “The tighter [Theresa May] ties us to the EU the further away the rest of the world becomes.”
U.S. President Donald J. Trump has said he is keen to do “a very big” trade deal as quickly as possible, to give Brexit Britain a boost, with the U.S. Ambassador to the UK confirmingthis just last month.Mrs May’s plan is to keep many current trade arrangements with the European Union (EU) in place, after threats from big business – allegedly encouraged by her government – whilst also controlling unlimited mass migration from the bloc in some way.
It could also mean remaining tied to the European Court of Justice – leaving was supposedly one of Mrs May’s Brexit “red lines”.She hopes the plan will allow the UK to set its own tariffs on goods arriving in Britain, and then technology will be utilised to determine where they are destined for and if UK or EU tariffs should be paid on them.
Even ardent anti-Brexit campaigners have slammed the complex plan, however, which could mean the UK cannot seize the benefits of Brexit whilst also losing some of the benefits of membership.
Former Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg tweeted Friday morning: “I hate to say this, but Brexiteers would be right to reject PM’s plan.
“Dual EU/UK tariffs would create vast red tape, smugglers would boom, Parliament would be humiliated. MPs would rubber stamp [goods and agriculture] rules from Brussels – right to refuse would never be used as costs too high.”
He added: “Better to put this costly, bureaucratic, unworkable proposal out of its misery ASAP. Whatever Brexit means, it can’t be this.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the anti-Brexit group Best For Britain – backed by the billionaire, pro-open borders activist George Soros – expressed his support for Mrs May.
Lord Malloch Brown, a former UN official and minister under former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, wrote in The Mirror: “It is time to give Theresa May a break.
“The Cabinet must fall in behind her at their Chequers Summit on Friday, giving her an unambiguous mandate to negotiate and agree the best, most realistic, Brexit deal she can with Brussels.”
The potential cabinet rebels who met Thursday night are reportedly Boris Johnson, David Davis, Michael Gove, Liam Fox, Andrea Leadsom, Penny Mordaunt, and Esther McVey.
Liam Fox, however, is said to be leaning towards backing the plan, along with Sajid Javid and other more pro-Brussels ministers.