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Back me or there’ll be no Brexit: Prime Minister warns rebel MPs and pledges she will NOT let Brussels water down the deal

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 15/07/2018 Dianne Apen-Sadler
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Theresa May has warned there may be ‘no Brexit at all’ because of attempts to wreck her controversial blueprint for Britain’s departure from the European Union.

She claims that rival Commons revolts by warring pro- and anti-Europe Tory MPs threaten to sabotage hopes of winning a post-Brexit deal for Britain. And in a hard-hitting message to Brussels, the Prime Minister says she will not budge an inch on the proposed Brexit deal she agreed with Cabinet Ministers at her Chequers summit.

Writing in today’s Mail on Sunday, Mrs May dramatically raises the stakes in her bid to win support for her proposal to make a success of leaving the EU.

Watch: Donald Trump claims he predicted that Britain would back Brexit

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Her fighting talk comes after US President Donald Trump enraged Downing Street last week by claiming that Mrs May should be more ‘brutal’ towards Brussels, and also follows reports that Conservative MPs are threatening to force her to quit.

In a bold attempt to kill off plots by both Brexit and Remainer MPs to make her tear up her new Brexit policy, the Prime Minister says: ‘My message to the country this weekend is simple: we need to keep our eyes on the prize.

‘If we don’t, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all.’

She implies that Tory Brexit rebels who have denounced her ‘common rule book’ plan with the EU on trade regulations could risk a revival of terrorism in Northern Ireland, ‘break up our precious UK’ with a new border with the Irish Republic – and destroy jobs.

She also lashes out at Conservative Remain MPs hoping to defeat her in a Commons vote this week by keeping Britain in the EU Customs Union. It would be the ‘ultimate betrayal’ of the EU referendum and kill off the UK’s prospects of winning its own trade deals, she says, and she would ‘not stand for it’.

a person posing for the camera: Theresa May has warned there may be ¿no Brexit at all¿ because of attempts to wreck her controversial blueprint for Britain¿s departure from the European Union © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Theresa May has warned there may be ¿no Brexit at all¿ because of attempts to wreck her controversial blueprint for Britain¿s departure from the European Union

Vowing to dig in her heels at the next round of Brussels talks, she says: ‘Some people have asked whether our Brexit deal is just a starting point from which we will regress.

‘Let me be clear. Our Brexit deal is not some long wish-list from which negotiators get to pick and choose.

‘It is a complete plan with a set of outcomes that are non-negotiable.

‘The negotiations with the EU are not going to be easy for Brussels – and I don’t intend them to be.

‘As President Trump has said, I’m a tough negotiator. As I made clear to him, I am not going to Brussels to compromise our national interest; I am going to fight for it and fight for our Brexit deal – because it is the right deal for Britain.’

Her comments are mirrored by Mr Trump in an exclusive interview with Piers Morgan conducted on Air Force One during his visit to Britain.

The President said it was vital Mrs May took a tough line in talks with Brussels so she could ‘carve out’ a trade deal with the US.

Asked if Mrs May had managed to change his mind about his incendiary claim made on the eve of his trip that she was watering down Brexit, Mr Trump said: ‘No. My position is the same. If you speak to the Prime Minister, she’s saying, “No, it is Brexit, but we’re leaving certain things.” ’

When Mr Morgan said few believed her, Mr Trump said: ‘Well, yeah, I know.’

Mr Trump also revealed he had discussed Brexit with the Queen.

He would not reveal the details of their conversation but added: ‘She said it’s a very – and she’s right – it’s a very complex problem.’

Jacob Rees-Mogg wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Last night, Mr Rees-Mogg (pictured) said: ¿Conservatives across the country expect the Government to deliver on its promises and want members of parliament to hold it to account' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Last night, Mr Rees-Mogg (pictured) said: ¿Conservatives across the country expect the Government to deliver on its promises and want members of parliament to hold it to account'

Despite Mrs May’s plea to Tories to rally round, grandees from rival wings of the Conservative Party have made dire forecasts of Brexit’s impact on the party.

Brexit rebel MPs have privately set Wednesday as the deadline to obtain the 48 signatures necessary to force a leadership challenge before the Commons summer recess.

One said: ‘If those signatures don’t come in by the middle of this week, Theresa May will be safe until the autumn.’ Lord Spicer, who chaired the Conservatives’ 1922 Committee of MPs from 2001 until 2010, said the split over Europe could lead to a breakaway pro-Brexit Tory Party being launched.

‘It may be time for the Conservative Party to split into two parts,’ said Lord Spicer, who founded the Tory Brexit campaign group, the European Research Group, now run by Jacob Rees-Mogg. ‘You cannot expect those who wish to leave the EU to vote for the opposite, and vice-versa,’ the peer added.

Veteran pro-European Ken Clarke claimed the Tories were having a ‘Brexit nervous breakdown’ which could topple the ‘unfathomable and irritating’ Mrs May.

And he warned the Conservative Party was ‘profoundly, deeply divided about Brexit’, which had brought it to the brink of total collapse. ‘If we had a leadership election, blood would be running in the gutter,’ said Mr Clarke.

He also mocked his detractors, saying: ‘When they can’t think of any arguments, they say, “Oh, you are trying to undermine the referendum”.’

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith told Mrs May to her face last week that she was a ‘terrible poker player’.

In a tense exchange at Downing Street, the leading Brexiteer accused her of being too soft with Brussels. ‘You have shown your hand too early,’ Mr Duncan Smith told her.

Mrs May’s allies claim that pro-Brexit Tories used Mr Trump’s aides to encourage him to attack her ahead of his UK visit.

Last night, Mr Rees-Mogg said: ‘Conservatives across the country expect the Government to deliver on its promises and want members of parliament to hold it to account.

‘To do this there may be occasions when we vote against the Government to deliver Brexit. This week’s votes will be part of this process.’

a man wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a brick wall: Mrs May has faced problems with several Brexit MPs including David Davis, pictured, who resigned earlier this week © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Mrs May has faced problems with several Brexit MPs including David Davis, pictured, who resigned earlier this week

My deal is the only Brexit deal - wreck it at your peril: THERESA MAY's steely warning to Tory rebels AND those bully boys from Brussels

By Theresa May for the Mail on Sunday 

Our Brexit deal for Britain seizes the moment to deliver the democratic decision of the British people and secure a bright new future for our country outside the European Union.

It restores our national sovereignty, so that it is our Government that decides who comes into our country, our Parliaments that make our laws and our courts that enforce them.

It puts an end to the vast membership subscriptions we pay to Brussels, delivering a Brexit dividend to support domestic priorities like our long-term plan for the NHS.

It grasps the opportunities of an independent trade policy, freeing us to forge new trade deals with allies across the world – including America, where President Trump has made it clear he wants a trade deal and is now confident we will be able to do it.

And it enables us to build the new economic and security partnerships we want to see with the European Union. Because Brexit isn’t about trading with other countries instead of trading with Europe, it is about doing both.

This is the scale of the opportunity before us and my message to the country this weekend is simple: we need to keep our eyes on the prize.

If we don’t, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all.

This is a time to be practical and pragmatic – backing our plan to get Britain out of the European Union on March 29 next year and delivering for the British people.

a person holding a microphone: Her fighting talk comes after US President Donald Trump enraged Downing Street last week by claiming that Mrs May should be more ¿brutal¿ towards Brussels © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Her fighting talk comes after US President Donald Trump enraged Downing Street last week by claiming that Mrs May should be more ¿brutal¿ towards Brussels

I know there are some who have concerns about the ‘common rule book’ for goods and the customs arrangements which we have proposed will underpin the new UK-EU free trade area.

I understand those concerns. But the legacy of Brexit cannot be a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland that unpicks the historic Belfast Agreement. It cannot be the breaking up of our precious United Kingdom with a border down the Irish Sea. And it cannot be the destruction of integrated supply chains and just-in-time processes on which jobs and livelihoods depend.

This means we have to have friction-free movement of goods, avoiding the need for customs and regulatory checks between the UK and the EU.

And this cannot happen if products have to go through different tests for different markets, or if customs declarations have to be made at the UK/EU border.

I am yet to see a workable alternative future trading arrangement that would deliver on our commitments to Northern Ireland, preserve the constitutional integrity of the UK and deliver on the result of the referendum.

But our Brexit deal for Britain achieves exactly this – and it can work. For the common rule book only covers industrial goods and agricultural products and only those rules which are necessary to ensure free flow at the border. The regulations that are covered are largely stable and supported by a large share of our manufacturing businesses. And there will always be a parliamentary lock to ensure that our Parliament has the sovereign ability to reject any new law or regulation, while recognising there would be proportionate implications for the operation of the future relationship, were they to do so.

So I believe we need to come together behind our plan.

As the Trade Bill returns to the Commons this week, there are some planning to vote for amendments that would tie us to a permanent customs union with the EU.

This would be the ultimate betrayal of the Brexit vote. It would remove our ability to have an independent trade policy at all, conceding Britain’s role on the global stage as a force for free trade and endangering people’s jobs and livelihoods. This Government will never stand for that.

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie sitting at a table: Rebel Brexit MP Boris Johnson, pictured with his letter to No 10, resigned last week © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Rebel Brexit MP Boris Johnson, pictured with his letter to No 10, resigned last week

There are others who are planning to try and bring down a Bill that is essential in enabling us to prepare for life outside the European Union. This would put at risk our ability to make the necessary preparations for a no deal.

And this could lead to a damaging and disorderly Brexit because without this Bill passing we would not be able to retain the benefits of more than 40 existing trade arrangements; and neither will we have the means to protect consumers, industries and workers from being undercut by unfairly traded goods in a post-Brexit Britain.

As I have said many times, we can get a good deal and that is what is best for Britain. But we should also prepare for no deal. Not to do so would be grossly irresponsible. So I urge Parliamentarians on all sides to consider this when they are voting.

Finally, some people have asked whether our Brexit deal is just a starting point from which we will regress. So let me be clear. Our Brexit deal is not some long wish-list from which negotiators get to pick and choose. It is a complete plan with a set of outcomes that are non-negotiable.

People voted to end free movement. So free movement will end. People voted to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in our country; and we are going to deliver that too.

We will leave the Single Market and customs union, and get out of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy. We will have that independent trade policy and a new UK-EU free trade area with a common rulebook for industrial goods and agricultural products.

We will maintain high standards in keeping with our values, so we continue to promote open and fair trade. We will have that parliamentary lock on all new rules and regulations. We will not tolerate a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland or between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

And we will maintain close co-operation with the EU on security to keep our people safe while ensuring we have our own independent foreign and trade policy. None of these things is up for debate.

So the negotiations with the European Union are not going to be easy for Brussels – and I don’t intend them to be. As President Trump has said, I’m a tough negotiator. And just as I made clear to him on Friday – I say to the British people today: I am not going to Brussels to compromise our national interest; I am going to fight for it. I am going to fight for our Brexit deal – because it is the right deal for Britain. 

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