May Facing New Cabinet REVOLT
THERESA May’s Cabinet is facing fresh splits amid reports the Government is seriously considering a customs union deal with Labour to get a Brexit agreement through Parliament.
Insiders said ministers remain bitterly divided over the proposals with several doubting such a deal could command a majority in parliament or survive amendments from furious backbenchers. One senior Cabinet member suggested as few as 90 Tory MPs would support any withdrawal agreement involving a customs union and warned it would spark a new round of ministerial resignations.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is understood to be among those most fiercely opposed to a customs union with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom also determined to block the idea.
But a source said Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Mrs May’s chief whip Julian Smith were still trying to talk Cabinet colleagues into accepting a deal with Labour may be the only path to delivering Brexit.
Mrs May said she had an “open mind” on a deal to be done with Labour.
She told a Commons liaison committee yesterday: “There are differences on issues but on many of the key areas – particularly on the withdrawal agreement – there is common ground.”
It is understood the proposal would involve Britain’s entry into a customs arrangement with the EU which would see the alignment of all tariffs on goods within the EU and allowing it to negotiate trade deals on the UK’s behalf.