UK Conservative eurosceptics fail to agree Brexit plan B: FT

Sergio Conner
September 13, 2018

The trade union movement is preparing to throw its weight behind a public vote on the final Brexit deal because of fears the United Kingdom is going to "crash out" of the EU.

Pro-Brexit Tories are said to have spent several hours plotting to oust her on Tuesday night because they think she's betraying their vision of a clean break from the EU. But it broke up without a decision on a plan of action.

He said: "It is worth thinking about (the various scenarios) because everyone in Parliament who is enjoying making categoric statements about being against Chequers or against "no deal" is now loading the revolver for a game of Russian roulette, with a lot more than Brexit at stake". This is seen as critical by both sides, but talks have been deadlocked for months.

Though Barnier sounded relatively optimistic about the prospects of a deal, he acknowledged that tough issues remain not least over the border between European Union member Ireland and Northern Ireland. "I think it's possible" to get a deal by the start of November, Barnier said at a conference in Bled, Slovenia.

Chris Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, said: "The pound is rallying on Monday and for the second time in a couple of weeks, it's the European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier that's responsible".

Barnier refused to comment on the divisions in the governing British Conservative Party over Brexit.

On Tuesday, the European Research Group of eurosceptic Conservatives met in London for their regular weekly discussion. According to two people familiar with the meeting, nobody spoke against the idea that she must be removed.

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May has also faced strong opposition in Brussels to her plan to maintain EU rules on trade in goods when Britain leaves the bloc's single market and customs union after Brexit in March next year. One of those present said opposition to her leadership has hardened over the summer.

The rift in May's party deepened this week, with her former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who quit the cabinet over the Chequers proposal, comparing May's plan in a newspaper column to putting a "suicide vest" on Britain's constitution.

Condemning the proposals aimed at resolving the Northern Irish border issue, Mr Johnson said: "We have opened ourselves to perpetual political blackmail".

Environment Secretary Michael Gove - one of the leaders of the official Leave campaign who ran unsuccessfully against Mrs May - also rallied behind the Prime Minister.

Headlines on the progress of Brexit negotiations have forced traders to switch positions rapidly in a currency market that is holding about US$ 5.5 billion in short positions on the pound, based on weekly futures positioning data.

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. He warned his Tory colleagues to avoid "any diversion or distraction" that would prevent the government from delivering on the 2016 referendum result.

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