‘PM will be forced into hard Brexit,’ says ultra Leaver

Former Conservative MP Stewart Jackson
Photo: PA

Former Conservative MP Stewart Jackson Photo: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Former Tory MP and Brexit hardliner Stewart Jackson believes the prime minister will be forced towards backing a hard exit from the EU.

Stewart Jackson, who served as former Brexit secretary David Davis' chief of staff after being kicked out of his Peterborough seat at last year's general election, said Theresa May would be faced with no choice other than to dump her Chequers plan.

He told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'I absolutely believe that Emmanuel Macron and Michel Barnier have allowed the prime minister to develop a landing zone between a bare bones no deal and Canada plus.

'That, I think, eventually the House of Commons will, in extremis, have to look at when everything else becomes untenable.

'That is the position. That is what we were working on – association agreements with the EU, participation in agencies like Erasmus and Horizon 2020, work with the EU space agency, no tariffs and few non-tariff barriers.

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'These are all things that for instance Donald Tusk was articulating in March and it is perfectly feasible and it can happen.'

He added that Chequers risked 'further concessions' and the Canada plus plan espoused by his old boss was the only option that would satisfy the wider Conservative Party and the EU.

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He said: 'The difficulty for Chequers is it has not really got any friends.

'For the EU, it's outside their core principles and undermines the integrity of the single market. I think there's an understanding across the EU that that's the case.

'In the UK, people believe it is Brexit in name only.'

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