European Union open to free trade but not Chequers customs plan: document

Marco Green
September 26, 2018

May's aides have reportedly already begun to draw up contingency plans for a snap election, the Sunday Times reported, citing two senior members at Downing Street.

She added that the government would still continue to prepare for the possibility of "no-deal" Brexit.

He added: 'We're now, bluntly, in a cul-de-sac.' But Confederation of British Industry director Carolyn Fairburn warned a Canada-style deal would create friction at borders, would not solve the Irish border and would damage supply chains affecting thousands of jobs.

It comes as Mrs May delivered a warning to her Brexiteer MPs led by Jacob Rees-Mogg that she believes a "no deal" is better for Britain than the Canada plus trade deal they have proposed as an alternative to her Chequers plan.

The Prime Minister insists her proposal, which would see Britain maintain a "common rulebook" with the European Union for trade in goods and agriculture, is the only credible option on the table which would avoid the return of a "hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Mrs May insisted that if her Chequers plan gets through it will still allow Britain to have a good trade deal with the USA and other countries even if it shares a common rule book on regulations of goods with the EU.

Ahead of the meeting on Monday, there had been media speculation of differing opinions among some of her top team, with claims that some ministers wanted her to abandon the plan agreed in July at a meeting at her country retreat Chequers, Xinhua reported. Political pundits have noted that Salzburg has, instead, driven a wedge between the United Kingdom and the EU.

'This is a bump in the road.

'We have come up with a serious set of proposals. "We have to have a "Plan B" now - "Plan A" is out of the window". We are going to be resolute about this'.

As ministers gathered at 10 Downing Street the prime minister said she remained confident of securing a withdrawal agreement with the EU.

She stated: "In my judgement it is something no British Prime Minister would ever agree to". That is what we as Conservatives should be focused on. But the majority of the parliamentary party and, I think, the membership want us to focus on getting a good deal that supports the economy and then moving on'.

She will say: "Looking beyond the European Union, we are absolutely committed to delivering continuity in terms of relationships with existing bi-lateral partners - and we want to forge the most dynamic and ambitious free trade agreements with old friends and new allies alike".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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