May wins assist from divided government on Brexit plan

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May secured a cupboard settlement on Friday for her plans to depart the European Union, overcoming rifts amongst her ministers to win assist for “a business-friendly” proposal aimed toward spurring stalled Brexit talks.

After an hours-long assembly at her Chequers nation residence, May appeared to have persuaded essentially the most vocal Brexit campaigners within the cupboard to again her plan to press for “a free trade area for goods” with the EU and preserve shut commerce ties.

The agreed proposal – which additionally says Britain’s massive companies sector won’t have the present ranges of entry to EU markets – won’t come quickly sufficient for Brussels, which has been urgent May to come up with an in depth imaginative and prescient for future ties.

But the hard-won compromise might but fall flat with EU negotiators.

By additionally committing to ending free motion of individuals, the supremacy of the European court docket and “vast” funds to the bloc, May might be accused of “cherry-picking” the most effective bits of the EU by Brussels officers, who are decided to ship a robust sign to different nations to not observe Britain out of the door.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier welcomed the settlement however added on Twitter: “We will assess proposals to see if they are workable and realistic.”

For now, May, who has been written off by critics often since dropping her Conservative Party’s parliamentary majority in an ill-judged election final 12 months, might be buoyed by the hard-won settlement.

“Today in detailed discussions the cabinet has agreed our collective position for the future of our negotiations with the EU,” May stated in a press release. “Now we must all move at pace to negotiate our proposal with the EU to deliver the prosperous and secure future all our people deserve.”

In a doc outlining the government’s place, ministers stated they’d agreed that an earlier proposal made to the EU “needed to evolve in order to provide a precise, responsible and credible basis for progressing negotiations”.

Instead, they’d agreed to barter for a “free trade area for goods”, one that may see Britain having a “common rulebook for all goods” in a mixed customs territory. This would permit Britain to set its personal import tariffs and seal new free commerce offers.

They additionally agreed that parliament would have the ability to resolve whether or not to observe EU guidelines and rules sooner or later, and the government would step up preparations for the eventuality of a ‘no deal’ exit.

But for each side of the Brexit debate – the hardline eurosceptics and the staunch EU supporters – the agreed negotiating place was not sufficient.

John Longworth, a boss of marketing campaign group Leave Means Leave, accused May of personally deceiving Brexit campaigners. “May’s Brexit means BRINO – ‘Brexit In Name Only’ – a fake Brexit.”

Pro-EU Labour lawmaker Chuka Umunna described it as “yet another behind-closed-doors stitch up that would leave us all worse off”.

The Times newspaper stated, with out citing sources, that May was taking a tough line and had promised senior allies that she would sack international minister Boris Johnson, a Brexit supporter, if he tried “to undermine the peace deal”.

Police officers test a automobile arriving on the entrance to Chequers, the Prime Minister’s official nation residence, close to Aylesbury, Britain, July 6, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Radburn


With 9 months earlier than Britain leaves and simply over three earlier than the EU says it desires a deal, May has been beneath intense stress from the bloc and from many companies to indicate her negotiating place.

As she held the disaster talks together with her ministers, the chief government of European planemaker Airbus, Tom Enders, accused the government of getting “no clue or at least consensus on how to execute Brexit without severe harm”.

May was cautious on whether or not she is going to win the assist of the EU, saying solely that she had “been talking to European leaders over the last week or so”.

“This is a proposal that I believe will be good for the UK and good for the EU and I look forward to it being received positively,” she instructed reporters.

But she has no less than cleared one more home hurdle.

She appears to have reassured pro-Brexit ministers that beneath the brand new negotiating place Britain will nonetheless be capable to search commerce offers with the remainder of the world, easing fears that mirroring EU guidelines for items would rule that out.

They may have been reassured by May reiterating her perception that any settlement with the EU ought to finish the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, though British courts would nonetheless have to “pay due regard” to its rulings.

Slideshow (four Images)

And the agreed negotiating place additionally arms a giant position for parliament to resolve whether or not Britain ought to proceed to observe EU guidelines and rules, recognising that any rejection of them “would have consequences”.

“This is a further step, an important further step, in our negotiations with the European Union,” she stated. “But of course we still have work to do with the EU in ensuring that we get to that end point in October. But this is good.”

Additional reporting by William James, Sarah Young and Andrew MacAskill, Editing by Gareth Jones and David Stamp

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