Cabinet Brexiteers warn of open revolt if Theresa May tries to force through customs partnership: Brexit News for Sunday 6 May

Cabinet Brexiteers warn of open revolt if Theresa May tries to force through customs partnership: Brexit News for Sunday 6 May
Sign up here to receive the daily news briefing in your inbox every morning with exclusive insight from the BrexitCentral team

Cabinet Brexiteers warn of “open revolt” if Theresa May tries to force through EU customs partnership deal…

Theresa May faces being publicly denounced by Cabinet’s most senior Brexiteers if she steamrolls their objections to her favoured plans for a customs deal with the EU, senior figures have said. Cabinet sources warned the Prime Minister not to attempt to force through a “hybrid” proposal which they said would fail to meet promises made during the referendum campaign and in the Tories’ 2017 manifesto. Senior figures also warned that Britain was “losing time” in the negotiations both because of the delay in Mrs May making a final decision on a plan for future customs arrangements, and as a result of No 10 putting off a Commons vote on keeping the UK in the tariff-free customs union… [A] Cabinet source said: “It would be unimaginable for the Prime Minister to press on with the hybrid model after it has been torn apart by members of her own Brexit committee. “Overruling the committee would see many Brexiteers lose faith in the current leadership. The PM should instead adopt the [highly streamlined] option and not try to force through a plan which would fail to meet the promises made during the referendum and in the Tory manifesto.” – Sunday Telegraph (£)

…as May reportedly demands Brexiteers back her customs partnership plan or ‘face chaos’…

Theresa May faced down the hard Brexiteers in her Cabinet by warning them that they should swing behind her customs union plan – or risk the chaos of a ‘no deal’. The Prime Minister spoke out after being rebuffed at a meeting of her Brexit ‘war Cabinet’ on Wednesday, when she tried to win support for her plan for a new ‘customs partnership’ with Brussels… Cabinet Ministers led by Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson defeated the proposal by a margin of six votes to five in the special inner Cabinet after arguing that it would ‘betray’ Brexit by continuing to shackle the UK to Brussels regulations. But at the end of the meeting, this newspaper has learned, Mrs May made clear to the Brexiteers that she would persist with the plan, telling them: ‘We have to have a solution that can work.’ Mrs May’s No 10 Brexit adviser, Olly Robbins, has told her that the ‘partnership’ is the only idea which will allow the UK to cut new trade deals while avoiding the need for a hard border in Ireland – and is also the only plan likely to be accepted by the EU and voted through by the Commons. – Mail on Sunday

  • MPs ready to launch revolt against Theresa May over EU customs deal – Sunday Times (£)
  • May’s ministers have rejected the customs partnership. In clinging to to it, Number 10 is making a mistake – Iain Duncan Smith MP for ConservativeHome
  • Rise of born again Brexiteers could change Theresa May’s strategy – Macer Hall for the Express
  • Theresa May won’t abandon her customs partnership idea: but she should – James Forsyth for the Spectator
  • No more fudging on Brexit, Theresa – The Sun on Sunday says
  • There’s no future for a Conservative Party that softens or botches Brexit – Sunday Telegraph editorial (£)

…despite vowing to get Britain out of the EU customs union as soon as possible

Theresa May has vowed to get Britain out of the EU Customs Union as quickly as possible. She brushed off fears she has gone soft on Brexit — and told of her “absolute determination” to get out by the end of 2020. But worried Brexiteers fear she will try to strong-arm ministers into backing a slightly tweaked version of the same deal. The PM only needs to win over three members of her team to get it through a crunch Cabinet committee next week… Mrs May’s plan for a partnership where Britain collects EU import tariffs for Brussels was dismissed by colleagues as unworkable last week. She went back to the drawing board but Eurosceptics fear civil servants convinced her to make just a few changes to convince wavering ministers… Mrs May has drawn up a list of four demands that have to be met for a new customs arrangement to work. It must give Britain freedom to strike trade deals with non-EU countries, maintain a frictionless Irish border and kick in by the end of 2020. Most importantly, she believes it has to be accepted by Parliament and the EU. – Sun on Sunday

  • ‘Absolute determination’: May vows to deliver Brexit without customs union – Observer

> Patrick O’Flynn MEP today on BrexitCentral: Theresa May urgently needs to face down the anti-democrats seeking to dilute Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn warned by Caroline Flint and former advisor that he could keep Labour out of office for another decade if he fails on Brexit

Labour risks being shut out of government for almost a decade if it continues to be seen as “too Remain”, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn has said, as a pro-Europe former minister warned that the party must “heed the warning” from the local elections. Steve Howell, Mr Corbyn’s former deputy director of strategy, said “Brexit is undoubtedly a big factor in how some people voted” in Thursday’s poll, which saw Conservatives make gains across the country. His comments came as Caroline Flint, the Labour ex-Europe minister, warned that the party risked “alienating many traditional Labour voters” if it “fails to stand by the 2016 vote”… The MP, who supported the Remain campaign but represents a strongly pro-Leave constituency in Doncaster, said last week’s election results showed that opinion was “moving to the Conservatives” in areas such as Sunderland, Derby and Dudley. “If Labour stood strongly behind the decision to leave the EU, we could champion the need for … the very policies needed to restore faith among voters,” she writes. – Sunday Telegraph (£)

  • Parliament should reject Brexit game-playing and accept the country’s decision – Caroline Flint MP for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Rebel Tories say they have enough MPs to push Theresa May into staying in single market – if Labour backs it…

Rebel Tory MPs believe they now have sufficient support to force Theresa May into effectively keeping the UK in the single market. Conservatives have told The Independent there would be enough of their party’s MPs to lock in full single market access after Brexit, as long as Labour also backs it. But in a move set to enrage Labour politicians, Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench will on Tuesday refuse support for just such a proposal in the Lords – preventing it from being voted on in the Commons… It follows reports that Tory chief whip Julian Smith has already told the prime minister she lacks numbers in the Commons to defeat rebel amendments aimed at keeping the UK in an EU customs union… If Lord Alli’s amendments are defeated on Tuesday and never make it to the Commons, then Tory rebels say they are preparing their own amendments to table to other pieces of legislation at a later stage. – Independent

…while Labour peers accuse Corbyn of Brexit ‘cowardice’ for refusing to back single market…

Labour peers launched an attack on the party leadership last night, accusing it of “paralysis” and “cowardice” over Brexit policy, as bitter recriminations over disappointing local election results burst into the open… With Jeremy Corbyn increasingly under pressure from Remainers to develop a more distinct and robust pro-EU policy, Labour peers said they were outraged that the party appeared to be trying to block their efforts in the Lords to achieve a soft Brexit that would allow the UK to remain involved in the EU’s internal market, and provide a solution to the Irish border problem. The Observer understands that more than 40 Labour peers are ready to back a cross-party amendment to Brexit legislation that would instruct the government to begin negotiating future UK membership of the European Economic Area (EEA). – Observer

…as six Peers who voted for second Brexit vote are revealed to be sitting on massive pension funds after working as MEPs

Former Cabinet Minister Priti Patel last night said the public would be outraged peers were trying to reverse Brexit “in a show of loyalty to their Brussels pay packet”. The peers lost their bid for the public to vote on the final EU deal. Labour’s Lord Cashman is entitled to an estimated annual £20,118 from his £371,000 pot. Last night he said: “To suggest my votes or beliefs are in any way connected to my receipt of a contributory pension is a travesty of the truth.” Baroness Crawley’s fund is £260,000. Lord Tomlinson built a £173,000 pot. Lib Dem Baroness Bowles’ pot is £220,000, Baroness Ludford’s £371,300 and Lord Teverson’s £86,000. – Sun on Sunday

  • Only a third of Tory members want to keep the Lords as it stands – ConservativeHome
  • The Lords has no place in a genuine democracy – Kenan Malik for the Observer

> Sir Bill Cash MP today on BrexitCentral: The latest chicanery and shenanigans of the Remainers and Reversers

Jean-Claude Juncker blasted for attending ceremony marking the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth

The chief eurocrat was attacked by politicians worldwide who had urged him not to attend the bash in honour of the founder of Communism. He delivered a speech to an event in Trier, Germany, at which a statue of the left-wing revolutionary donated by the Chinese government was unveiled. Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski, whose family fled Soviet ruled Poland, said Mr Juncker’s attendance was in poor taste. He raged: “Marxism led to the killing of millions around the world as it allowed a small band of fanatics to suppress the people. We must learn the lessons from this and share with our children.” Politicians from Eastern Europe, much of which was subjected to the misery of Communist rule, were also enraged… Meanwhile the leader of the Swedish delegation of MEPs for Mr Juncker’s own pan-European party also laid into him… And there was condemnation from across the Atlantic too, with the US congressional group on victims of communism urging Mr Juncker to boycott the event. – Sun on Sunday

  • The FT remembers Karl Marx – ‘more relevant than ever’ – Steerpike
  • Why would anyone be a Marxist now? – Daniel Hannan MEP for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Caroline Flint: Parliament should reject Brexit game-playing and accept the country’s decision

This week, the House of Lords made things worse by amending the EU (Withdrawal) Bill to give Parliament a new option over the final deal. In addition to voting to accept; or to reject and leave with no deal, the Lords added the option to vote the deal down and keep the UK in the EU. If I was Michel Barnier, the temptation to offer the worst possible terms in the hope that Parliament votes to reject it and stay in would be hard to resist. Hardly helpful to the UK achieving the best deal. This is about our national interest. Do we want a good deal to pave the way for an orderly Brexit; free of cliff edges and crises? Or do we want to create the conditions to undermine Brexit and, do so by weakening the UK’s negotiating stance… Next week, the Lords considers amendments to allow exit day – 29 March 2019 – to be postponed. All becomes clear. If Brexit cannot be defeated today, postpone Brexit by a year, maybe two until, perhaps, an opportunity arises to overturn Brexit altogether… The Lords may play parliamentary games over Brexit; the Commons should not emulate them. The Brexit games have to stop. – Caroline Flint MP, former Labour Europe Minister, for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Sun on Sunday: Prime Minister Theresa May will try to foist an EU customs union fudge — despite promises

Theresa May says today she is “absolutely determined’’ to leave the EU customs union and the single market. It’s good to hear you say it Prime Minister. We intend to keep you to your word. The evidence at the moment is that she is trying to force through a fudge on the customs union which would make the notion of taking back control meaningless. Last week she was faced down by cabinet Brexiteers over her unworkable customs partnership plan. It should have been a clear warning to go back to the drawing board. But all indications are that later this week she will try to foist another compromise on her inner cabinet that would shackle us to an equally restrictive deal. This is not what 17.4million voted Leave for. – The Sun on Sunday says

  • Labour still have not learned lessons of their past failures – Theresa May for the Sun on Sunday

Sunday Telegraph: There’s no future for a Conservative Party that softens or botches Brexit

The disconnect between what voters want and what so many MPs and members of the establishment intend to do widens daily. Theresa May is undoubtedly in a very tight spot, but she mustn’t allow those who want to bog Britain down in a permanent no-man’s land to win. She must abandon her idea of a customs partnership, regardless of the consequences on the current phase of Brexit talks. The scheme under discussion is over-complicated, would hit small business hard, force Britain to swallow the EU’s regulations (and police them on its behalf), and keep the tariff barrier in place… Ministers who see the flaws in the customs partnership model must hold firm and fight on against it. Here is an opportunity to break free of the EU’s petty rules, to redefine Britain as economically liberal and open to the world. There is no future whatsoever for a Tory party that compromises, softens or simply botches Brexit. – Sunday Telegraph editorial (£)

Iain Duncan Smith: May’s ministers have rejected the customs partnership. In clinging to to it, Number 10 is making a mistake

Leaving the Customs Union is a vital component of Brexit. Instead of being rule-takers, whilst sitting behind a wall of costly tariffs, the UK will have the opportunity to create a global network of free trade deals with some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. This commitment needs to be implemented in a way which is simple and clear. Yet even now at this late stage, with only ten months left before we leave the EU, there seems to be confusion in what we want our customs arrangements to be. This is because the Government has not one but two proposals on the table. One of them is causing great concern because it would complicate the Brexit process. It is that the UK should commit to what is described as a New Customs Partnership (NCP) with the EU. This would mean aligning the UK to the EU’s customs border. This plan is the result of the EU’s attempt to bully the UK, using the Northern Irish border issue to frustrate the negotiations. This messy proposal aptly illustrates the way in which we have been conducting the negotiations with the EU. It seems to many that, sadly, as once-firm red lines are abandoned, our negotiators seem too often desperate to please the EU, regardless of the consequences for the UK. – Iain Duncan Smith MP for ConservativeHome

  • ‘Get Brexit right and destroy Labour’: IDS says Theresa May can end Corbynism if she delivers on Brexit – Iain Duncan Smith interview with Camilla Tominey for the Sunday Express

Liam Halligan: New Customs Partnership is ‘unworkable’

NCP means accepting many EU single market rules and European Court of Justice jurisdiction. The Byzantine complexity, and need to pay higher EU tariffs then hopefully get a refund, would discourage non-EU nations from signing post-Brexit UK trade deals – jeopardising a major benefit of leaving. So why was NCP championed by arch-Remainer civil servants surrounding Theresa May? Because, to them, Brexit is a disaster not an opportunity. They want to drown the process fudge so we get BRINO – “Brexit in name only”. Cocooned in the public sector, oscillating between Whitehall and Brussels, what do these “gifted amateurs” really know about global commerce and the shifting shape of the world economy? What they do know about is creating a huge mess, in the hope Britain loses its nerve and abandons Brexit. – Liam Halligan for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

  • Desperate Remainers are showing contempt for the British people – John Longworth for the Sunday Telegraph

Brexit in brief

  • The fight over Galileo satellite programme encapsulates the EU’s attitude to Brexit – Ashley Fox MEP for ConservativeHome
  • If Brexit really is ‘above party politics’, Greening can’t complain about the ERG – Henry Hill for ConservativeHome
  • Remainer party Renew lose only council seat but insist ‘demand is there’ to reverse Brexit – Express
  • Former mandarin raises alarm over scale of registering EU citizens – FT (£)