Tory MPs Draw Up ‘No Deal’ Brexit Plan to Challenge PM May

Rees-Mogg
LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty

Pro-Brexit Tories are plotting to challenge the Prime Minister directly by drawing up their own “positive” plan for a clean Brexit, including a “no deal” exit from the European Union (EU).

Leading Brexiteer MP Jacob Rees-Mogg is organising the policy paper, which will outline the advantages to pulling out of the protectionist bloc on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms, The Times reports.

Mr. Rees-Mogg leads the 60-strong pro-Brexit European Research Group and the paper is expecting to be backed by as many as 80 Tory MPs, ramping up the pressure on Mrs May ahead of the party conference in Birmingham.

It is expected to argue for a Canada-style trade deal if the bloc backs down on demands for the Irish border to stay open, proposing a “no deal” exit if Brussels fails to compromise on the issue.

Mrs May’s Chequers plan for a “soft” Brexit, with the UK tied to all EU trade rules, could be rejected by the bloc and is unpopular with the Tory grassroots and the wider public.

Senior ERG figures told The Time they were confident Brussels will reject the Chequers proposals.

“We have made it very clear that we do not accept the Chequers proposals, but there is an acknowledgment that we need to make the case for an alternative,” one said.

“The tricky bit is coming to a common position that everyone can sign up to, but I’m confident that we should be able to achieve that.”

Another source added: “We are working to come up with a positive policy paper that will take a realistic approach outlining what is acceptable in line with the referendum result.”

Meanwhile, former Tory cabinet minister Lord Lilley, also an ERG member, wrote today that a Canadian-style deal would be “the best outcome” and a “no deal” would be “a good second best”.

“The Chequers plan is moribund and the agreement offered by the EU in March is unacceptable because the ‘Irish backstop’ means splitting the UK,” he argues.

“‘No deal’ is likely and would be a good second best, making a better deal possible later.”

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