Theresa May 'too weak' against hard Brexiters, say Labour

Theresa May 'too weak' against hard Brexiters, say Labour

A letter signed by Eurosceptic lawmakers sets the scene for continued clashes both within the divided ruling party and with the European Union which has opposed the United Kingdom unilaterally signing global trade deals in the aftermath of Brexit.

The group is headed by leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Ministers have also been urged to fight back harder against the EU setting a timetable for negotiations and to "take control" of tariff schedules - in other words the customs union.

The members of the European Research Group are pushing for a clean break from the EU with "full regulatory autonomy" outside of the European Single Market.

They also said that Britain must not be stopped from negotiating and signing trade deals during any transition period.

"We are writing to reassure you of our continued, strong backing for the clear vision of an internationally-engaged, free-trading, global Britain which you laid out", said the letter, before offering "some suggestions" on how to achieve it.

MPs said the United Kingdom should negotiate as an equal partner in the proceedings.

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The letter was signed by Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack, Stirling MP Stephen Kerr and Gordon MP Colin Clark - but not by Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson, who was a spokesman for the Vote Leave campaign in Scotland.

"The UK should negotiate as an equal partner. Ministers may not want or be able to accept the EU's timing and mandates as fixed, and should be able to set out alternative terms including, for example, building an agreement based on our World Trade Organisation membership instead", it says in the letter.

They have accepted some shifts from the government that they used to find intolerable - a Brexit departure lounge of a couple of years rather than a sharp exit, and a bill of tens of billions.

What is most concerning about the letter - concerning for Leavers like me, or Remainers, or anyone who wants Britain to come through Brexit...

"She is too weak to face down the fanatics in her own party and to deliver a final deal that protects jobs and the economy", said Paul Blomfield, the shadow Brexit minister.

While May hasn't yet formalized her plans, the broad shape of the deal she wants is becoming clear: The U.K. will stay closely aligned to European Union rules in many areas, including manufactured goods, while breaking away immediately in others, such as agriculture and financial services.

Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a potentially unsafe outcry from 62 members of her own party who are demanding a quick, clean break from the European Union, just as she tries to finalize her Brexit plans.

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