Ian Blackford says Theresa May is leading United Kingdom to Brexit catastrophe

28 October, 2018, 15:47 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Theresa May 'drinking in last chance saloon' as anti-Brexit protesters hit streets

UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Cabinet is not close enough to agreeing a way forward for top level Brexit negotiations to resume, even as time is running short to reach a deal, according to people familiar with the matter.

May said Britain needed to explore every opportunity to break the impasse.

"Let's take note of foreign mistakes, let's learn from the historic error which Brexit represents for the United Kingdom and think about the prosperity of our citizens".

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox - a prominent Leave campaigner in the referendum - warned it would be a mistake for MPs to move against the Prime Minister at a crucial moment in the Brexit talks.

She returned from an unproductive summit in Brussels last week to a new and more intense round of rumours about an imminent leadership challenge from within her party's most staunch pro-Brexit wing.

Earlier on Sunday, the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, conceded that Conservative backbenchers had become jittery about the Brexit negotiations but insisted "now is the time to play for the team" as speculation about May's leadership swirled.

The Government was working "intensively" to find a way forward on the issue of the backstop which the European Union is demanding to keep the Irish border open, she said. But if she had to concede an extension, it would only be for a few months as it would still end "well before the end of this Parliament".

She measured her words carefully and never lost her cool as she tried to paint herself as a leader who stood above politics and looked after the nation's interests first.

May did not address the quote directly, but said: "It is incumbent on all of us in public life to be careful about the language we use".

But almost every MP's disapproval of the quotes was followed by condemnation of May's handling of the negotiations.

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Tory MP Johnny Mercer said he has received "overwhelming" support from within the party since he described the government as a "shitshow".

Mrs Braverman, a leading Tory Brexiteer, said there are "many views" about the Prime Minister's Chequers proposals for future trade relations.

In a reference to the hundreds of thousands who marched through London on Saturday calling for another European Union referendum, May said: "It will mean not giving in to those who want to stop Brexit with a politicians vote - politicians telling the people they got it wrong the first time and should try again".

The gulf in the positions defended by May on Monday and Brussels is wide.

John Redwood, a former Tory minister and long-standing Eurosceptic, said that a further delay was rash as more billions would have to be paid to the EU.

She will attempt to put a positive spin on progress, saying 95% of the UK's divorce deal from the European Union is complete.

The EU says it might - and so it wants London to sign a treaty clause that could leave Northern Ireland inside the EU customs space.

The stakes for May are rising quickly at home.

The timetable for talks has been shifted back as May faces stiff opposition within her own party and allies to the Irish and customs elements of a deal.

But this has been furiously ruled out by the PM who said that it would effectively hive off Northern Ireland and draw a border down the Irish Sea.

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