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Esther McVey refuses to back Theresa May’s Brexit plan ahead of crunch cabinet talks on EU deal


One other cupboard minister refused to again Theresa May’s Brexit plan, forward of her crunch talks with senior colleagues to rally assist for a deal.

Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, repeatedly declined to say she supported the Chequers plan for a softer withdrawal, because the negotiations continued in Brussels.

As an alternative, she mentioned she was “utterly supportive of the prime minister” – with out mentioning Chequers – including: “I’m totally 100 per cent behind the prime minister and we’ll get the perfect deal for this nation.”

Ms McVey’s dodging of the query echoed the stance taken by Penny Mordaunt, the worldwide growth secretary, who has additionally refused to assist the plan, already rejected by the EU.

And it got here because the prime minister opened discussions with senior cupboard members, revealing a few of the element of her new proposals to interrupt the impasse over the Irish border.

They haven’t been revealed, however are recognized to contain extra checks on animal products crossing from Britain to Northern Eire – scary fury within the Democratic Unionist Party.

The DUP has threatened to vote down the budget – probably toppling Ms Might, by ending the agreement that props her up – if she refuses to again down.

The federal government can be searching for for the “backstop” to maintain all the UK within the EU’s customs territory, till expertise supplies an answer to keep away from a tough Irish border.

The EU will insist the customs plan will not be time-limited – which might anger Brexiteer ministers who worry it can grow to be everlasting and will set off additional resignations.

When first floated in June, the difficulty was fudged. A paper mentioned it “ought to be time-limited”, however that the UK solely “expects” an alternate answer to be prepared by the top of 2021.

It appeared that the “mini-cabinet” was not being requested to approve detailed proposals as a result of UK officers had did not make as a lot progress as hoped with their counterparts in Brussels.

Ms McVey was not one of many cupboard ministers invited to the assembly with the prime minister, prompting ideas that potential troublemakers had been requested to remain away.

It was held as Ivan Rogers, the UK’s former ambassador to the EU, dismissed the possibilities of both the Chequers plan, or a looser Canada-style deal advocated by Brexiteers profitable favour in Brussels.

Sir Ivan put the probabilities at “exactly zero”, including: “The Johnsonian Canada plus plus is as large a pipe dream as Chequers. In some respects, somewhat greater”

In the meantime, Sir John Major criticised Tory MPs threatening the prime minister, arguing they have been worse than the Eurosceptics that dogged his premiership.

“I’ve nice sympathy for her plight and I believe the way in which she is being handled by a few of her colleagues is completely outrageous,” he instructed the BBC’s Political Considering podcast.

Requested in regards to the “bastards” from his period, he replied: “Their behaviour was fairly insupportable, however not practically as insupportable as the way in which the current prime minister is being handled.”

One Conservative MP, Helen Grant, a celebration vice chairwoman, dismissed the DUP menace, insisting: “I believe they’re bluffing.”


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