Brexit: Theresa May urged to come clean over negotiations

Nicky Morgan says PM must reveal details of her plans 

Arj Singh
Sunday 18 September 2016 17:13
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Theresa May has been warned not to give so-called "hard Brexit" supporters the space to dominate the debate over Britain leaving the European Union.

Nicky Morgan, who was sacked from the cabinet by the Prime Minister, urged Mrs May to reveal more details about her Brexit strategy after a hardline Eurosceptic group was set up with the support of Tory former ministers.

Leave Means Leave has the backing of Tory former frontbenchers, including Owen Paterson, Dominic Raab and Sir Gerald Howarth, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Mrs May has been criticised for repeating the slogan "Brexit means Brexit" but failing to set out details of what she wants to gain from negotiations from the EU, but the PM insists she will not offer a "running commentary" on her strategy.

Mrs Morgan told ITV's Peston on Sunday: "I do think that it's time to flesh out some of the issues, particularly around Brexit.

"You are seeing today that there are people in the Conservative parliamentary party now saying they are going to set up a sort of hard Brexit group.

"If you leave a vacuum other people will fill it and therefore I think the time is now to say - 'this is what we would like to get out of Brexit'."

Meanwhile, Cabinet minister David Lidington insisted the status of EU nationals living in Britain remains on the negotiating table despite a warning any Brexit deal which diminishes their rights could be vetoed.

Slovakian PM Robert Fico said the Visegrad Four (V4) - the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - want a guarantee their nationals "are equal" before agreeing to any deal ahead of the UK leaving the EU.

Mrs May has so far refused to guarantee the status of EU nationals but insisted she wants them to stay after Brexit if the rights of Britons overseas are respected.

Mr Lidington reiterated her position, telling BBC One's Sunday Politics: "Clearly, everything to do with EU citizens already here and prospective inward migration by EU citizens here, or British citizens to other countries, is part of the negotiation and that will be looked at in the round."

Mr Fico had told Reuters: "V4 countries will be uncompromising.

"Unless we feel a guarantee that these people (living and working in Britain) are equal, we will veto any agreement between the EU and Britain.

"I think Britain knows this is an issue for us where there's no room for compromise."

Amid growing calls for more details on the Government's Brexit strategy, Downing Street on Saturday poured cold water on claims Mrs May told one of Brussels' most senior figures that she wants to trigger the formal process to pull Britain out of the EU early next year.

European Council president Donald Tusk said the Prime Minister told him during talks at Number 10 last week it was "quite likely" she would be ready to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty "maybe in January, maybe in February" 2017.

A Downing Street source said Mrs May did not specifically mention January or February at the meeting and that Mr Tusk's comments were an "interpretation" of their conversation.

The PM "recognises the need to deliver on the public verdict without delay", the source added.

Formal negotiations between the UK and the EU cannot begin until she starts the two-year process, which Brexit Secretary David Davis has insisted will be triggered without a parliamentary vote.

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