May stands by her Chequers deal as Brexiteers plan ‘guerrilla war’

PUBLISHED: 14:57 11 July 2018

Prime minister Theresa May leads a plenary session during during the second day of Western Balkans summit at Lancaster House, London
Photo: PA / Leon Neal

Prime minister Theresa May leads a plenary session during during the second day of Western Balkans summit at Lancaster House, London Photo: PA / Leon Neal

PA Wire/PA Images

Theresa May has rallied behind her Chequers plan amid further pressure from the hard-Brexit wing of the Tory party.

Arriving at the Nato summit in Brussels on the eve of the Brexit White Paper being published May said the Chequers agreement “delivers on the vote that people gave”.

But speculation over further possible resignations of Leave-backing Tories is rife following the loss of three ministers, two party vice-chairs and two parliamentary aides over the course of 48 hours.

Backbencher Andrew Bridgen became the first Tory MP to declare that he has sent a letter of no confidence in Mrs May to the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady. Some 48 letters are required to trigger a vote.

May said: “It’s there because it delivers on the vote that people gave on Brexit, it delivers the fact that we will have an end to free movement, we will have an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK, we won’t be sending vast contributions to the EU every year, we’ll be out of the Common Agricultural Policy, out of the Common Fisheries Policy.

“We deliver that Brexit and we do it in a way that protects jobs and livelihoods and meets our commitment to Northern Ireland.”

One May-backing Tory aide told The New European: “The Leavers can throw their toys out of the cot if they want. The prime minister has played her cards right and we are moving in the right direction.

“I personally think the process will now pick up pace and become simpler because David and Boris have gone. They made the right choice because Theresa needs the total backing of her cabinet. She’s got that now.”

The plan envisages Britain continuing to trade freely with the remaining EU in goods under a “common rulebook”, while accepting restrictions on trade in services.

Brexiteers have told the PM she should brace herself for “guerrilla war” to kill off her deal, with Eurosceptic Tories withholding their support in the Commons.

But leading Eurosceptic Bernard Jenkin played down the prospects of more walkouts from May’s administration.

“For the record ... ERG is not expecting any further resignations, nor were we expecting any in the first place,” he said.

“Nor do we expect a leadership challenge. We are supporting Theresa for PM.”

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