Ex-minister calls for second Brexit vote

Theresa May

Tabled by former minister Priti Patel, the amendment ensures that HM Revenue and Customs would not collect European Union countries' tariffs under a customs partnership, without "a reciprocal arrangement" with Brussels.

Arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said May faced the choice of rewriting her Brexit plans or splitting the Conservatives and scraping through on the back of opposition votes.

No 10 concluded that all four amendments were "consistent with the Brexit white paper", a decision that so incensed Tory remainers that they vowed to vote against the amendments in Monday night's Commons debate. Her remainer colleague Dominic Grieve said of the amendments: "The only intention behind their tabling was malevolent".

The others require the United Kingdom to have a separate Value-Added Tax regime from the EU and force the Prime Minister to table primary legislation if she wishes to keep Britain in the customs union.

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.

Her recent white paper outlining plans for a "common rule book" with the European Union over trade in goods has infuriated those who favour a complete break.

The size of the threat to her position should become clear on Monday when euroskeptic MPs put forward a series of proposals to toughen up the government's customs legislation during a parliamentary debate.

"I suspect the Chequers deal is, in fact, dead", Conservative lawmaker Bernard Jenkin told the BBC.




She now argues a referendum should "give the public a first and second preference vote, allowing a consensus finally to be found". It was then undermined by the resignations of her Brexit minister David Davis and foreign secretary Boris Johnson. In the London Evening Standard, the Tory former attorney general wrote: 'In a deeply divided country we must either work together to get the best deal we can and this needs compromise, or accept Brexit cannot be implemented and think again about what we are doing'.

But her plans have been criticised by pro-EU Conservative lawmakers, with one former minister calling it the "worst of all worlds", while eurosceptics say the strategy will keep Britain firmly in the bloc's sphere of influence.

Some in the pro-EU faction have also rejected the plan.

Conservative former Cabinet minister Ken Clarke told MPs that the Government's adoption of ERG amendments was "directly inconsistent with the white paper of a week ago".

"For Leavers, this deal simply does not deliver the proper break from the European Union that they wanted".

While heat from Remain wing of the party has also been turned up, Greening claimed the PM's Brexit plan, contrary to what the she claims, is not what people voted for.

It is understood this "poison pill" amendment had been deliberately created to cause headaches for Number 10 by demonstrating that there is no government majority for the Chequers-agreed Brexit white paper.

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