UK's May pleads for support, says Brexit deal nearly done

Elias Hubbard
October 22, 2018

In a long and hard conference call on Sunday, Work & Pensions secretary Ester McVey reportedly told the prime minister she was "devastated" by the transition extension proposal, while Home Secretary Sajid Javid challenged May to use the threat of a no-deal scenario as leverage in talks.

Mrs May will tell the Commons that "taking all of this together, 95% of the withdrawal agreement and its protocols are now settled".

May has been told she must face MP's and and answer questions pertaining to the concessions she made to Brussels as Brexit negotiations begin to stutter.

But Mrs May's hardline critics faced condemnation themselves yesterday after they suggested she would face a "show trial" this week at which she would be well advised to "bring her own noose".

Several Sunday newspapers said rebellious MPs were preparing a fresh bid to topple her leadership this week, many carrying colourful off-record quotes from the plotters. She'll be dead soon'.

Despite her political differences with Mrs May, Ms Cooper said "violent" words - such as a suggestion that the Prime Minister would be "knifed in the front" by backbenchers - were unacceptable.

Eurosceptic former cabinet minister Theresa Villiers described the comments as "really disturbing", adding: 'It is very unhelpful - we have got to trust the Prime Minister to do the job.

He said: "My preference would be if you had David Davis as an interim leader, not as the leader to take the Tories into the next general election, but to take the party through to Brexit". This just confirms what many in the public thinks of us, that we're all out for ourselves and not on the side of working people'.

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis also urged Mrs May to play tough by threatening to ban European airlines from flying over the United Kingdom in the event of a no-deal exit.

With a matter of months to go until Britain leaves the EU, Mrs May is facing mounting pressure from Leavers and Remainers both inside and outside her party.

She said the United Kingdom wants to find solutions to the outstanding problems with the backstop as set out by the Theresa May and said the United Kingdom remains "confident for a positive outcome".

May's backstop counterproposal is for the United Kingdom as a whole to stay in a customs union with the EU.

Steve Baker, a leading ERG member, has tabled amendments to government legislation which could stop Northern Ireland being placed in a different regulatory and customs territory from Great Britain without a vote in the Northern Irish parliament in Stormont.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Raab said Mrs May was now "considering extending the implementation period for a limited period of a few months, as an alternative to the backstop".

May will argue this is not the case and highlight all the specific areas of agreement already reached, including settling the divorce bill at £39 billion (US$51 billion), having an implementation period until at least the end of 2020 and recognising the rights of European Union citizens living in the United Kingdom and vice versa.

Earlier on Sunday, the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, conceded that Conservative backbenchers had become jittery about the Brexit negotiations but insisted "now is the time to play for the team" as speculation about May's leadership swirled. It is understandable that there are jitters on all sides of this debate. We need to hold our nerve. The end is in sight in terms of a good deal, the prize we want'.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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