May's let European Union 'blackmail and bully' Britain, ex-Brexit minister says

Elias Hubbard
November 18, 2018

Five Brexit-supporting Cabinet Ministers are planning to force Theresa May to change her controversial Brexit plan.

David Davis, who was Brexit secretary before Mr Raab, had earlier used a series of tweets to again urge Mrs May to seek a looser deal with the EU.

"I still think a deal could be done but it is very late in the day now and we need to change course", he told the BBC.

Pro and anti Brexit protesters hold placards as they vie for media attention near Parliament in London, Friday, Nov. 16, 2018.

Mrs May published her 585-page draft withdrawal agreement with the European Union on Wednesday.

However earlier this week, in his role as health minister, he wrote that "a question that a number of people have raised is whether they will continue to be able to get healthcare in Europe after we leave the European Union, for example if they are retired in France or Spain or going on holiday to Greece or Italy".

Speaking to Sky's Sophy Ridge, she said the chair of the 1922 backbench committee will make it known if he had received the required 48 letters from Conservative MPs - which could lead to a leadership election.

If 48 letters are eventually handed in, it will mean that 15 per cent of the party have chosen to opt for a new leader, triggering a reelection in which Mrs May will not be allowed to stand.

He added: "Had that been the choice, I personally would have voted to Remain".

He suggested the threshold might be reached "sometime next week".

But she insisted there was no better option on the table and any alternative plans would still not conjure up a solution to keeping open the border with the Irish Republic.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove, another so-called "Brexiteer", did not resign Friday despite speculation he might do so.

Elsewhere, former interior minister Amber Rudd was appointed as work and pensions minister, replacing Esther McVey who also resigned over the plan. Mr. Gove was a leading figure in the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum, and Mr. Fox is a long-time Eurosceptic.

Britain's Environment Secretary Michael Gove arrives at his office in London on November 16, 2018. The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear on delivering Brexit as the British people voted for at the Referendum.

But May's Cabinet still contains tensions and potential fissures.

May is determined to fight on, warning that abandoning her Brexit plan, with Britain's withdrawal just over four months away on March 29, would plunge the country into "deep and grave uncertainty".

She appealed directly to voters Friday by answering questions on a radio call-in show. It was not an easy ride.

Other mutinous MPs in her party have openly spoken of ousting her and said the Brexit deal would not pass parliament. The public and political class would see her less as a beleaguered leader on her last legs and more as a dogged, determined public servant who got the job done against the odds. Reiterating the main points of the draft Brexit accord, she maintained that "the course I have set is the right one for our country".

Businesses, which fear the turmoil that could follow a disorderly Brexit, have largely welcomed the withdrawal deal.

May because both are among the few cabinet ministers left who represent the hard-Brexit wing of the Conservative Party, which advocates cutting nearly all ties with the EU.

"It's 2018. It's the year that people dial (emergency number) 999 because KFC ran out of chicken", he told Sky News. They are also concerned this will make it harder to strike new trade deals with other major economies such as the United States.

Cllr French, however, like other Tories in the constituency is hoping Mr Barclay can still extract a better deal and she's firmly backing his promotion.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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