Cracks appear as Cabinet Brexit battle breaks out
PUBLISHED: 10:11 10 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:11 10 December 2017
PA Archive/PA Images
A Government truce over the last-gasp EU deal is unravelling ahead of a crunch meeting of the Brexit war cabinet.
Michael Gove and Boris Johnson are set to demand the UK does not move away from the hard Brexit they are demanding.
And the pair have won a crucial ally in new Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.
The Cabinet meets tomorrow for the first time since Theresa May’s dawn deal in Brussels on Friday but the Brexit subcommittee does not convene until next week comprising of Williamson, Johnson, Gove, Theresa May, Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd, Damian Green and David Davis.
Sources close to Gove and Johnson claim the pair swallowed their doubts on Friday to allow the UK and the EU to move on to phase two of the talks. But they will now press the Prime Minister to ensure there is not regulatory alignment with the EU beyond Brexit.
Gove remains adamant, for example, that Britain must quit the common fisheries policy as soon as possible.
The brewing showdown is being stoked by hardline Brexiteers worried that May is paving the way for a softer exit from the EU.
Former Brexit minister David Jones has claimed the UK could end up paying as much as £100 billion as an exit settlement which is two-and-a-half times the £39 billion figure floated by the Government.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, the ex-minister said: “’Government sources’ were quoted saying the price tag was likely to be £39 billion – down from an earlier-reported £50 billion. However, the deal document contains no such precise figure, reduced or otherwise.
“What it does contain is a set of highly technical mechanisms we would have to follow to work out the eventual Brexit cost to the UK.
“And those mechanisms could land us with a bill, on some estimates, of as much as £100bn – a figure EU sources were touting earlier this year.”
But speaking on The Andrew Marr Show Brexit Secretary Davis said the UK would not pay more than the £39bn quoted.