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Brexit - as it happened: Tories turn on 'insolent' Rees-Mogg after Brexiteer threatens open revolt against May

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Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
,Ashley Cowburn
Monday 02 July 2018 16:10
What is still needed to complete a deal with the EU?

Theresa May has been mocked for failing to secure unity within her own cabinet on Brexit as Tory infighting spilled out into the open ahead of a crunch meeting on Friday.

Jeremy Corbyn questioned how Ms May could get a Brexit deal if she could not get her ministers in line, and warned that cabinet infighting was having a "debilitating effect" on jobs and business.

It comes as senior Tories piled in to criticise Jacob Rees-Mogg for "insolence" after the leading Eurosceptic fired off a warning over Ms May's Brexit strategy.

Mr Rees-Mogg, who chairs the European Research Group of pro-Brexit backbench Tories, said she must deliver the Brexit she promised or risk collapsing the government, ahead of crunch cabinet talks at her Chequers retreat on Friday.

Foreign office minister Alan Duncan accused him of "insolence" towards the prime minister, while Alistair Burt, another FCO minister, tweeted: "Enough. Just tired of this endless threat and counter threat. Why don’t we want the best for the U.K. than for our own ideological cliques?"

His comments also attracted criticism from respected backbenchers, such as health committee chair Sarah Wollaston and Tory grandee Sir Nicholas Soames, who told his Tory colleague to "shut up".


Welcome to The Independent's politics liveblog, bringing you all the latest updates from Westminster throughout the day.

Lizzy Buchan2 July 2018 08:31

Prominent Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg is dominating the headlines today after warning Theresa May she could fracture her party like Sir Robert Peel, who plunged the Conservatives into the political wilderness for decades following bitter divisions over trade reforms.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: "Theresa May must stand firm for what she herself has promised.

"One former Tory leader, Sir Robert Peel, decided to break his manifesto pledge and passed legislation with the majority of his party voting the other way.

"This left the Conservatives out of office for 28 years.

"At least he did so for a policy that works. At Chequers [Ms May] must stick to her righteous cause and deliver what she has said she would, she must use her undoubted grace to persevere."

Lizzy Buchan2 July 2018 08:45

Strong words from foreign office minister Sir Alan Duncan, who accuses his Brexit-backing colleague of "insolence" and threatening the prime minister.

Lizzy Buchan2 July 2018 08:56

Tory MP Vicky Ford, a former MEP, said there was no majority in Parliament for a no-deal Brexit.

Ms Ford told the Today programme: "What I would say to Jacob ... is if this becomes a binary choice between staying in the single market and customs union or no deal, then I do not believe there is a majority for no deal.

"Therefore the bespoke, specific solutions that find a practical way that works for business, that works for our trade, that keeps market access and a partnership with Europe - that solution, which the prime minister has outlined many times, is a solution which we should support her to deliver."

Lizzy Buchan2 July 2018 09:07

From the same interview, former Conservative leader Lord Howard also put pressure on May to keep to the Brexit commitments she had made.

"I have great confidence in the prime minister. I am sure that she will deliver a Brexit that is entirely consistent with the promises she has made," he told Today.

Lord Howard said ministers should heed warnings from business of negative consequences from a bad Brexit deal, but added: "I think we should listen to business but we should also remember that business is divided.

"Quite a lot of big business doesn't like change and has opposed all sorts of changes in the past. Although some parts of business don't like change, the British people voted for change two years ago and any solution has to be consistent with that vote.

"When change comes, business will adapt as it always does and it will thrive and prosper and we will have the kind of exciting future that I'm sure awaits us when we have delivered Brexit."

Lizzy Buchan2 July 2018 09:13

No 10 has drawn up a fresh plan for customs rules after Brexit, as Theresa May battles to rescue the stalled negotiations amid a fresh threat to topple her.

The warring cabinet will be urged to back a third proposal at its crunch Chequers gathering on Friday, after the first two were rejected by senior ministers and Brussels, The Independent has been told.

The new blueprint is said to be distinct from both current models which provoked bitter disputes in the cabinet, although no details have been set out yet.

Here's our latest story:

Lizzy Buchan2 July 2018 09:29

Sajid Javid has emerged as the favourite to be next Tory leader in a survey by influential website ConservativeHome. Jacob Rees-Mogg has regularly topped the poll but the Eurosceptic backbencher has been toppled by the ambitious new home secretary.

Michael Gove, the environment secretary, is hot on his heels, while Mr Rees-Mogg comes in fourth, after "Other" in third place.

Lizzy Buchan2 July 2018 09:44

Another foreign office minister weighing in on Jacob Rees-Mogg here.

Lizzy Buchan2 July 2018 09:50

Labour has demanded Theresa May bans the “cruel and inhumane” practice of gay conversion therapy as the government prepares to publish its major LGBT+ action plan.

The party’s call comes as the prime minister is set to launch her proposals later this week, alongside the world’s largest survey of LGBT+ people, detailing the responses of 108,000 individuals in the UK.

More here from my colleague Ashley Cowburn.

Lizzy Buchan2 July 2018 10:05

Labour has warned there is a risk of the resurgence of post-war style slums that fuelled illness as it announced plans to join up health and housing policies.

Hundreds of thousands of rented homes are unfit to live in, according to the party.

Read our piece here:

Lizzy Buchan2 July 2018 10:14

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