Brexiteer Cabinet members have backed down and supported the Prime Minister’s plan for a customs union “backstop” which could keep the UK tied to European Union (EU) rules for years after the divorce.
Foreign secretary Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, the environment minister – two leading figures in the Brexit campaign – have reportedly defended the plan that will see the UK mirror customs union rules for years unless a fresh option for the Irish border can be found.
Mr. Johnson insisted that Brexiteers should not fear a “betrayal” and Mr. Gove said it was a merely a contingency plan and would be time-limited, according to the BBC.
Reports over the weekend revealed that some Tory MPs were plotting to push for a snap election if Theresa May betrayed her promise to leave the European Union’s Customs Union.
However, Mr. Johnson also said voters “deserve a break” and backed Mrs. May despite her customs union climb-down.
POLL: Clean Brexit Departing EU Customs Union is Public Favourite https://t.co/DgkYBRkVUc
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 15, 2018
The plan, put forward by Mrs. May and reported last week, was welcomed by the Irish Premier Leo Varadkar, who praised “any move that helped to align all of the EU and the UK in terms of customs into the future”.
Leading pro-Brexit backbench MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, meanwhile, warned that people did not vote for a “perpetual purgatory” and urged a smooth, swift departure from the bloc.
Speaking to reporters during a tour of Latin America on Monday, Mr. Johnson said:
“Brexiteers fearing betrayal over the customs backstop must understand that the PM has been very clear that neither option is an outcome we desire – we want a deal with the EU and she will deliver it.
“I’m convinced that the prime minister will be true to her promises of a Brexit deal that sees Britain come out of the customs union and single market, have borders as frictionless as possible, reject European Court of Justice interference, control immigration and free to conduct unhindered free trade deals across the world.
“We must now give the prime minister time and space to negotiate this Brexit vision.”