The Prime Minister is set to push back against the EU’s demand to potentially break up the UK with their “Irish border backstop” plan, amid warnings it puts Britain on a path to a “no deal”.
The move is likely to sidestep or delay a Brexit rebellion from Eurosceptic Tories and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who have threatened to try and oust Theresa May or vote down her government if she crumbles to the bloc’s demands on Ireland and customs checks.
Leading Brexiteer and former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said that “each side says they don’t want a hard border, and there is a practical way of achieving that without having to force Northern Ireland into a customs union or into the single market, and that proposal just needed a proper exchange with them”.
Speaking on ITV Tuesday morning, the Conservative grandee continued: “It’s not about technology, it’s about existing processes, it’s also based on a set of agreements called CLECAT. It doesn’t require any special measures – it does require cooperation and goodwill.”
The MP, who was himself ousted by Tory MPs 15 years ago, added that he backed Mrs May to carry on. “This is a huge decision and there’s a lot to be discussed.
“There are things acceptable and not acceptable to political parties. The vast majority of the party recognises we need stability. I don’t believe it’s in our best interests to have a vote of no confidence.
“She needs a run to get this right and a distraction would not help at all.”
‘It’s Just Chaos’ – Pro-Brexit and Pro-EU Tories All Turning on Theresa May over Negotiations https://t.co/UyPuhslHwB
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 19, 2018
Over the weekend, MPs told Mrs May to “bring her own noose” to a crunch meeting on Wednesday, hinting at a rebellion, as former Brexit Secretary David Davis set out his leadership bid.
Mrs May angered pro-Brexit politicians last week, after proposing keeping the entire UK inside the bloc’s customs union for almost a year after the two-year “transition period” to avoid customs checks on the Irish border or sea.
The EU is still insisting that in the absence of a full trade deal after the transition, Northern Ireland should stay in the EU Customs Union while the rest of the country leaves – something Mrs May has called a “backstop to the backstop” and “unacceptable”.