The Prime Minister is considering a plan to stay partially inside the European Union’s Single Market.
The plan, to follow EU rules and regulations on goods but diverge on service, was pitched to a meeting of the Brexit Committee on Thursday by Theresa May’s top EU advisor Oli Robbins, an admirer of the old Soviet Union.
If it goes ahead, the British could be forced to follow EU rules without any influence over how they are made — but, according to The Sun, Robbins argued that the plan would help maintain trade and supply of products such as machinery, cars, and planes with the continent.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip ‘Remainer Phil’ Hammond is thought to be pushing to keep the UK fully inside the Single Market, and Robbins’s plan was presented as a compromise between that position and a clean, full Brexit.
However, a senior Tory MP briefed on the Cabinet’s discussions said there would be strong opposition from pro-Brexit cabinet members.
“[Liam] Fox, [Michael] Gove and Boris [Johnson] have made it clear they will not accept Single Market rules, because it means being dictated to by Brussels forever,” he told The Sun.
“How can we defend that in the House of Commons? It makes us little more than a colony of the EU, and the PM has been told that… It feels very much like a Treasury plot to frustrate Brexit.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 26, 2016
The Prime Minister promised to take Britain out of the Single Market in her Florence speech last September, yet subsequent promises to and demands by the EU have made this look less likely.
This Friday, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, insisted “a UK decision to leave the Single Market and Customs Union would make border checks [in Ireland] inevitable.”
Just days before, a leaked draft EU withdrawal agreement showed that the EU is preparing to demand Northern Ireland stays inside the Single Market and Customs Union.
And in December, the government made a “gentleman’s agreement” to maintain “regulatory alignment” between Northern Ireland and the EU, without making it clear how the rest of the UK can diverge from EU rules if this is the case.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), meanwhile, has insisted Northern Ireland will leave the EU on the same terms as the rest of the United Kingdom.
Their MPs are currently propping up Mrs. May’s minority government, making them hard to ignore.