Third of Theresa May’s Trade Envoys Will Not Back ‘Disingenuous’ PM’s Brexit Deal

Brexit
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Theresa May’s “worst deal in history” with the European Union will be voted against by “at least a third and possibly up to half” of the 21 envoys she has appointed to support new trade deals after Brexit.

A number of the MPs approached Sky News, who understand that “at least seven, and as many as 10” of them will vote against the Brexit deal, denouncing her claim that it takes back control of Britain’s trade policy as “very disingenuous”.

The Prime Minister’s deal will see Britain remain effectively a non-voting EU member-state for a “transition” period of at least two years, which could be extended to four, with new trade deals prevented by the bloc’s Common Commercial Policy and Common External Tariff.

Even after this, the United Kingdom may find itself forced into a “single customs territory” covering goods and agri-products under the so-called “backstop”, which Mrs May has agreed Britain will not be allowed to leave without the EU’s agreement.

“For some trade envoys who have spent a lot of time working with governments and businesses to promote trade deals, which will now be affected by staying in existing tariff rates, this is very frustrating because it makes our job harder; it has led people up the garden path,” commented Tim Loughton MP, who has been acting as an envoy in Africa.

“There’ll be no trade deals until we fully exit the Customs Union,” another, anonymous envoy told Sky bluntly.

“I will need to make lots of calls saying ‘sorry let’s put the trade agreement on hold, [we’re] in a waiting room for three to four years’,” he complained.

“It makes us look double-minded and confused, and is not a good look for Global Britain.”

The fall out comes as U.S. President Donald Trump told journalists the Prime Minister’s withdrawal agreement looked like “a good deal for the EU” after discussing it with Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage.

President Trump, who has been keen to negotiate a Brexit deal with the United Kingdom — his country’s single-largest trade and investment partner, and vice versa — expressed concern that Mrs May’s deal would make it difficult for the British to trade with the European Union.

The Prime Minister had denied this, pointing to references in the entirely non-binding “political declaration” on the future UK-EU relationship to an “independent trade policy”, but the fact that up to half of her own trade envoys do not believe it will be possible for them to do their jobs suggest the President was right to be concerned.

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