Cabinet still can’t agree over Chequers plan
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
New Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has admitted the cabinet remains divided over the prime minister's Chequers plan.
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit chief David Davis walked out of government in response to the plan which outlines the UK's negotiating strategy with the European Union.
Now Raab has admitted he is still trying to persuade all members of the cabinet that Theresa May's Chequers agreement is 'the best plan to get the best deal'.
He has also revealed that the UK could refuse to pay the £39 billion divorce bill – a comment likely to get Brussels bristling ahead of the latest talks this week.
In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Raab suggested the divorce bill could be used as leverage in the talks with Brussels.
You may also want to watch:
He said: 'I want to make sure we can persuade everyone - grassroots, voters, parliamentary party and ministers, including in the Cabinet - that we've got the best deal and the best plan to get the best deal.'
He added: 'Article 50 requires, as we negotiate the withdrawal agreement, that there's a future framework for our new relationship going forward, so the two are linked.
- 1 The bigot we should have called out on day one
- 2 The greatest failure of government in our lifetime
- 3 Nigel Farage launches new party in Scotland to promote 'positive case for the Union'
- 4 Matt Hancock praises free school meals before being reminded he voted against them
- 5 The worryingly familiar signs for Britain's vaccine roll-out
- 6 Brexiteer MP ridiculed after calling for free movement of goods between GB and NI
- 7 Brexit changes lead to exodus of Brits from Spain, UK nationals claim
- 8 Brexiteer says he'd never have voted for Brexit 'if we knew we'd lose our jobs'
- 9 Fears government could scrap workers' rights in post-Brexit overhaul of labour laws
- 10 Katie Hopkins joins UKIP in time for leadership contest
'You can't have one side fulfilling its side of the bargain and the other side not, or going slow, or failing to commit on its side.
'So, I think we do need to make sure that there's some conditionality between the two.'
Pressed on whether he would put such a provision into legislation, Raab said: 'Certainly it needs to go into the arrangements we have at international level with our EU partners. We need to make it clear that the two are linked.'
The comments appeared at odds with Chancellor Philip Hammond, who said of the divorce payment last December: 'I find it inconceivable that we as a nation would be walking away from an obligation that we recognised as an obligation.
'That is not a credible scenario. That is not the kind of country we are. Frankly, it would not make us a credible partner for future international agreements.'
Raab added that critics were mistaken to think May would not walk away without a deal if she had to.
'They're wrong. No bluffing,' he said.
'The ball is now in the EU's court, and don't get me wrong, there will be plenty more negotiations, I've made that clear, but if they show us the same level of ambition, energy, pragmatism, this deal gets done in 12 weeks.'
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.