Tories Rally Behind ‘Plan A+’ Trade Deal, Majority of Cabinet Abandon May’s ‘Chequers’ Plan

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Leading Brexiteers have backed a new Brexit plan launched Monday by a free-market think-tank, as reports suggest the majority of the cabinet now want a trade deal with the European Union over Theresa May’s “soft” Brexit plan.

The new ‘Plan A+’ report from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) was called “exciting” by the former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and welcomed by former Brexit secretary David Davis and leading backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The report says the UK should push for an advanced free trade agreement and use technology to prevent a hard border in Ireland.

A majority of the Cabinet now supports moving towards a Canada-style trade deal, the Telegraph reports, rather than Mrs May’s plan to keep the UK tied to EU rules or goods, therefore hindering control of trade policy.

Jeremy Hunt, the new Foreign Secretary who campaigned for Remain, has reportedly emerged as a central figure in the Brexiteers’ fight to convince Mrs May to change direction.

He is far from the only Remainer to oppose Mrs May’s plans, with Mrs May’s former education secretary calling it the “worst of both worlds” and Remain-supporting Tory MP Greg Hands saying the “’Plan A+’ is preferable to Chequers” today.

Other Tory MPs to back the plan include Steve Baker, who said it was “brilliant,” Nadine Dorries, and Simon Clarke, who added: “We need a plan that can work both with the EU and in Parliament. Chequers fails both those tests.”

Launching the ‘Plan A+’ paper, Jacob Rees-Mogg said the name of a Brexit deal didn’t matter as long as it got the intended effect. “Canada plus; Super Canada; or Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Canada,” he joked.

“I’ve just seen this stuff that’s been done for the IEA,” said Boris Johnson. “Looking at it, I think it’s a very good piece of work.

“What it shows are the flaws with the ‘Chequers’ ideas, which basically would mean we have to take EU rules forever, without having any say in them – and no country has ever agreed to that kind of thing!

“Its vassal status, colony status for the UK. And the ideas that are being floated this morning [by the IEA] show there’s a real alternative, and actually, it’s the alternative that the Prime Minister originally wanted to do at the Lancaster House [speech].

“Because it enables us to do a big free trade agreement with the European Union, but also to free trade deals around the world. So, I think it a very exciting way forward, and I hope very much that the cabinet can look at it.

Asked about the Irish border, he said: “And it does fix some of those difficult questions about the borders – in particular, the Irish border. And so, it allows us, properly, to take back control of our laws – which you can’t do under ‘Chequers.’

“Under ‘Chequers,’ you lose control of your laws. Your laws are made in Brussels and they’re imposed on the UK. I mean, we’ve never had anything like that in 1,000 years.

He added: “Chequers keeps us basically locked in an EU legislative system, and this sets us free to prosper and do free trade deals around the world.”


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