Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Leading Brexit supporter denies plot to topple Theresa May

The EU is preparing to issue Michel Barnier new instructions for negotiating Brexit The EU is preparing to issue Michel Barnier new instructions for negotiating Brexit
Deanna Wagner | 14 September, 2018, 15:55

"You have seen over the summer I think an intensification in the talks - that is obviously something which we called for - and you have seen progress continuing to be made in relation to that withdrawal agreement", May's spokesperson said.

Hopes are fading that Britain and the EU can strike a deal at an EU summit in October as originally planned, but there are growing expectations that the EU is planning another meeting for November.

Speaking at a conference in Slovenia on Monday afternoon, Barnier said that a Brexit deal could be between six and eight weeks, calling such an outcome both "realistic" and "possible". In late afternoon trading, the pound was 0.9 per cent higher at $1.3030.

Steve Baker, a former junior Brexit minister who resigned over May's so-called Chequers proposals on Brexit, told the Press Association he was not advocating a change of leader but said May faced a massive problem at the September 30-Oct.

Barnier refused to comment on the divisions in the governing British Conservative Party over Brexit. There is, so far, no full exit deal and it is uncertain whether May can push an agreement through the British parliament.

While negotiators still need to resolve key disagreements, the European Union is getting ready to schedule a one-off gathering in mid-November so leaders can formally agree to the terms of the divorce, the sources said.

Without a deal, the United Kingdom would move from seamless trade with the rest of the European Union to customs arrangements set by the World Trade Organization for external states with no preferential deals.

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Mr Baker, the former chairman of the Eurosceptic European Research Group, said Mrs May faces a massive problem because of the scale of opposition to Chequers among Tory grassroots members. This time, one subject dominated: how to get rid of May.

The group argued that reverting to World Trade Organization rules, which can lead to the imposition of tariffs on certain goods, "would boost the U.K.'s trade with the rest of the world including Europe, lower domestic prices and boost inward investment".

The controversial agreement, which set out a blueprint for the future relationship with the European Union following Brexit, has led to the resignation of then-Brexit Secretary David Davis and Johnson. One of those present said opposition to her leadership has hardened over the summer. On Wednesday, the ERG will put forward its own plan for resolving the Irish border question.

Some rebel lawmakers at the Tuesday meeting said they had submitted letters of no confidence in May, the source told the BBC.

Connor Campbell, analyst at Spreadex said: "Though, of course, the content of any deal is the thing that really matters, at the moment the pound will take what it can get".

"Theresa May has enormous virtues, she is a fantastically dutiful prime minister and she has my support - I just want her to change one item of policy". He warned his Tory colleagues to avoid "any diversion or distraction" that would prevent the government from delivering on the 2016 referendum result.