Government dismisses leaked plan 'showing Theresa May's strategy for winning support for her Brexit deal'

Ambitious plan includes endorsements from business chiefs and foreign leaders, but No 10 insists it 'doesn't represent the government's thinking'

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 06 November 2018 22:42
No 10 dismissed the document as 'childish' and said it was not an accurate reflection of government thinking
No 10 dismissed the document as 'childish' and said it was not an accurate reflection of government thinking

Downing Street has dismissed the accuracy of a leaked document suggesting the government is planning to give MPs a vote on the final Brexit deal within three weeks.

The timetable, said to have been drawn up by officials at the Brexit department, sets out how Theresa May will win public support for the agreement she hopes to bring back from Brussels.

It proposes that the Commons would hold a vote on the deal on 27 November after a week in which the government would line up business leaders, foreign politicians and Westminster insiders to publicly endorse Ms May's plan.

Ministers will adopt a tone of "measured success" but there will no "champagne corks popping", it claims.

However, Downing Street dismissed the document, saying it "doesn't represent the government's thinking". It highlighted the "childish language", including a misspelling of Irish premier Leo Varadkar's name.

A government spokesperson said: "The misspelling and childish language in this document should be enough to make clear it doesn't represent the government's thinking.

"You would expect the government to have plans for all situations - to be clear, this isn't one of them."

The plan suggests the deal should have been agreed by the Cabinet on Tuesday. Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, would then have announced a "moment of decisive progress" on Thursday.

Instead, leaders in both the UK and Brussels warned that a deal was not close, and a three-hour meeting of the Cabinet resulted in no decisions being made. A second meeting is likely to be held later in the week.

According to the document, No 10 officials are planning a cautious response if a deal is finally agreed.

"The narrative is going to be measured success, that this is good for everyone, but won't be all champagne corks popping," it says.

The plan suggests Ms May would give a speech at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference on 19 November at which she would say "we have delivered on the referendum".

The prime minister would argue that "this deal brings the country back together, now is the time for us all to unite behind it for the good of all our futures".

This would be followed by a week of focus on the content of the deal, with each day dedicated to a particular issue, including the economy, immigration and "global Britain".

Business leaders and foreign dignitaries, including the prime minister of Japan, would be lined up to publicly support the deal. The mayor of Manchester, Labour's Andy Burnham, is mentioned as another potential backer.

Ms May would also do an interview with BBC presenter David Dimbleby.

The deal would be introduced in Parliament on 19 November and voted on by MPs on 27 November.


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