Theresa May's office quickly dismisses MP's call for new Brexit referendum

by Garry Watts July 17, 2018, 1:33
Theresa May's office quickly dismisses MP's call for new Brexit referendum

British Prime Minister Theresa May will face the anger of Brexit supporters in her party on Monday when they try to force her to change course on her strategy for leaving the European Union.

The votes in parliament's lower House of Commons come as Britain's new Brexit minister Dominic Raab heads to Brussels this week for his first talks with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

Another pro-EU Conservative lawmaker Dominic Grieve, who has led previous efforts to get the government to soften its Brexit stance, said the party needed to accept compromises "or accept that Brexit can not be implemented and think again about what we are doing". It was then undermined by the resignations of her Brexit minister David Davis and foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

"Do the leadership aspirations of multi-millionaires trump the need to listen to the employers and employees of this country?"

Asked if there was a suggestion that ministers would accept the amendments he said: "No".

However, the danger to the Prime Minister was underlined by the disclosure that Brexiteers had set up a Whatsapp group to co-ordinate voting tactics, organised by ex-Brexit minister Steve Baker, who quit over the Chequers plan.

Eurosceptics believe it keeps Britain too close to the European Union, and Davis, the former Brexit secretary, warned in the Financial Times on Monday it would deny the government the "freedom to run our own economy".

Justine Greening told the BBC on Monday that Parliament is "gridlocked" over Brexit.

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But the early break is likely to spark widespread criticism given that the recess is already scheduled to last for six weeks.

Another pro-EU lawmaker Dominic Grieve, who has led previous efforts to get the government to soften its Brexit stance, said the party needed to accept compromises "or accept that Brexit can not be implemented and think again about what we are doing".

She acknowledged that some lawmakers had doubts about her plans to stick to a "common rule book" with the bloc for goods and agricultural products in return for free trade, without tariffs or border customs checks, but insisted she couldn't see a viable alternative.

Justine Greening, an ex-Education Secretary who quit the government in January this year, said May's negotiating strategy would neither please those who wanted a clean break with the European Union nor those who opposed Brexit altogether.

"I wanted the prime minister's Chequers agreement to be a workable compromise", she wrote in The Times.

The prime minister also said that the taxation (cross border trade) bill, which seeks to allow the United Kingdom to implement its own customs regime after Brexit, and a related trade bill on Tuesday, were "an important part of our no-deal preparations" because both were necessary to prepare the United Kingdom for life as an independent trading nation. She said she and other senior Conservative Party lawmakers favour a new vote.

In an article in the Mail on Sunday, May urged eurosceptics to keep their "eyes on the prize", warning: "If we don't, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all".

Meanwhile pro-EU diehards are also dissatisfied with her compromise position unveiled last week, and are plotting their own moves, hoping to make ties much stronger. There is not going to be a second referendum under any circumstances'.

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