Furious Brexiteer Tory MPs demand a vote of no confidence in Theresa May over her soft Brexit blueprint - after Boris stunned Chequers summit by branding the deal a 't**d'
- Brexiteer Tory MPs are furious at the draft Brexit blueprint produced by May
- MPs are sending letters to the 1922 Committee demanding a confidence vote
- Contest will be called if 48 Tory MPs send a letter demanding a challenge to May
Furious Brexiteer MPs are demanding a vote of no confidence in Theresa May over her soft Brexit blueprint.
The Prime Minister will face her MPs tomorrow night at a meeting of the 1922 Committee, the group of all Conservative backbenchers.
Morley and Outwood MP Andrea Jenkyns was the first to go public with a warning she would sign a letter to party chiefs demanding a vote if the details of the deal were as bad as she thought.
And veteran Brexiteer Sir Bill Cash warned today a contest could be unstoppable because of the level of unhappiness at the Prime Minister's plan.
ITV's Robert Peston reported today he had been told letters had already been sent since Friday's Cabinet summit at Chequers.
Tory MPs told MailOnline colleagues were furious at Mrs May but accepted she would likely win any confidence vote called by Brexit supporters.
A vote of no confidence will be called if 48 Tory MPs send a letter demanding a vote to Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee.
Mr Brady will only reveal how many letters he has when the 48th arrives but party rules oblige him to call a vote of all Tory MPs if they arrive.
Earlier it emerged Boris Johnson branded the plan a 'turd' at the Cabinet showdown - before endorsing it.
Furious Brexiteer MPs are demanding a vote of no confidence in Theresa May (pictured today in Maidenhead) over her soft Brexit blueprint
A vote of no confidence will be called of 48 Tory MPs send a letter demanding a vote to Graham Brady (file), the chairman of the backbench Tory 1922 Committee
Ms Jenkyns told the BBC Sunday Politics she was '100 per cent ready' to sign a letter to Mr Brady.
She said: 'I'm standing up for the 17.4 million people who wanted these red lines and who wanted to ensure we did not have a half in, half out Brexit.'
Ms Jenkyns said she would send the letter without reassurance from Mrs May about the detail of her plan.
Veteran Brexiteer Sir Bill Cash today said the proposals left 'a lot of questions' and warned the Prime Minister a confidence vote was unstoppable if 48 Tory MPs write to 1922 Committee chairman Graham Brady.
Sir Bill told Sky News: 'There are a lot of questions in here, there is a lot of unhappiness, there is a great deal of concern that we are saying that we leave - it's not 'to be or not to be' it's 'to leave or not to leave'.
'The question is how do you leave and is this going to be a proper Brexit? There will be a massive discussion about all this.'
He said he had not written a letter calling for a leadership contest but 'if people were to decide to put in those letters you only need 48'.
Veteran Brexiteer Sir Bill Cash (pictured today on Sky News) said the proposals left 'a lot of questions' and warned 48 MPs were enough to trigger a confidence vote
Tory Andrea Jenkyns said she is '100 per cent ready' to send a letter to Mr Brady if the detail of the deal breaks red lines while Andrew Bridgen has accused Boris Johnson of raising the white flag over Brexit
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told Radio 5Live: 'I'm very, very disappointed with the offer that we've seen coming out of Chequers. I'm disappointed that so called Brexiteers in the Cabinet didn't pick up the cudgels and fight for a better offer.
'Bearing in mind this is an offer it's not a deal because it will be undoubtedly from the record, further diluted by the EU during negotiations.
Eurosceptics blast 'blackhole Brexit' plan
An analysis of the Chequers statement shared by Brexiteer MPs is damning about the draft blueprint, it emerged today.
A briefing drafted by Martin Howe QC suggests the Chequers proposals will 'lead directly to a worst-of-all-worlds 'black hole' Brexit.
The research says the the UK would be stuck permanently as a vassal state in the EU's 'legal and regulatory tarpit/.
The document has not been endorsed by the ERG - the Eurosceptic group led by Jacob Rees-Mogg - but was 'devastating', a Brexiteer source said.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove dismissed the note.
He told the BBC Andrew Marr show the 'almost Dickensian' analysis 'misses the point and is short of the mark'.
'To be honest having looked at the three page summary, I haven't seen the 120 page detail, but I imagine that it will have been spun by No 10 as that's the best of the deal.
'I've seen Martin Howe QC's legal opinion. I wouldn't support this deal if the EU were paying us.'
The European Research Group of backbenchers - led by Jacob Rees-Mogg - have been sharing a damning analysis by pro-Brexit lawyer Martin Howe QC.
He said the proposals would lead to a 'worst-of-all-worlds 'black hole' Brexit' which would leave the UK a 'vassal state in the EU's legal and regulatory tar pit'.
But Mr Gove told the Marr the 'almost Dickensian' analysis 'misses the point and is short of the mark'.
'How can it be the case that we are stuck in a regulatory tar pit when we can determine not just migration policy but also, in a huge swathe of our economy, we have perfect autonomy?' he asked.
'And also Parliament can decide, if new rules come forward, to reject them.'
Mr Gove dismissed the suggestion the UK was asking for 'fake sovereignty' as he argued European Court of Justice rulings would no longer automatically apply.
'What you are doing is manufacturing a sense of fake or even mock outrage,' he told BBC presenter Mr Marr. 'What you are doing is you are affecting that outrage.'
The Foreign Secretary stunned fellow Ministers with his four-letter dismissal of the Prime Minister's plan at Friday's special Chequers summit designed to unite the Cabinet. His comment risks making him the first victim of Mrs May's fresh crackdown on dissent.
Mr Johnson – who has been accused of betrayal by Tory Brexiteers for not blocking Mrs May's 'soft Brexit' proposals – spoke out against the plan for the UK to remain in line with Brussels rules in a new free trade zone with the EU.
Boris Johnson, pictured left, stunned fellow ministers with a four-letter dismissal of Theresa May's Brexit plan during Friday's Chequers meeting after Mrs May, right, called for loyalty
According to a reliable source, he complained that anyone obliged to defend the proposals would be 'polishing a turd'.
He added sarcastically: 'Luckily we have some expert turd polishers' – shooting a glance at one of Mrs May's spin doctors.
Challenging the Prime Minister's new policy to her face, he said that her decision to try to 'align' UK trading rules with the EU would reduce Britain to the humiliating status of a 'vassal state'.
He also took issue with her cher-ished new customs plan, the Facilitated Customs Arrangement (FCA), claiming it would be a 'serious inhibitor' to striking new trade deals with non-EU countries.
His outburst was revealed just hours after Mrs May tried to draw a red line under weeks of open dissent from her Ministers, vowing that from now on she will enforce collective Cabinet responsibility and sack any Ministers who defy her. Some senior Tories believe she may be forced to fire Mr Johnson.
The outburst was revealed hours after Mrs May threatened to sack disloyal ministers
A Mail on Sunday poll today endorses her handling of the Cabinet showdown, with 33 per cent of voters supporting her Brexit plan and 23 per cent opposing it. The Survation poll, the first survey since the Chequers summit, suggests Mrs May has twice the support of Mr Johnson – although voters do not believe her plan is 'faithful' to the EU referendum result.
Last night, Eurosceptic Tories said there was so much anger at the PM's 'sell-out' that some MPs would submit no-confidence letters to force a challenge to her leadership.
And Jacob Rees-Mogg's pro-Brexit European Research Group said experts believe the Chequers deal left the UK 'on course for a 'black hole' Brexit' – meaning we would be sucked into the orbit of EU rules with no hope of escape.
Boris Johnson has launched an extraordinary four-letter attack on PM Theresa May over her Brexit plans
Mr Johnson made clear in the run-up to Friday's session that he was vehemently against any scheme which left us shackled to EU rules, leading to fears in Downing Street that he and other pro-Brexit Ministers could resign.
But Mrs May launched her own plan to kill off his revolt: signalling in advance she had already lined up 'talented' junior Ministers to replace any Cabinet quitters; forcing all those at the summit to hand over their phones to stop them briefing against her under the table; and issuing an official No 10 communique declaring victory while her critics were still stuck inside arguing.
Last week, Boris attacked businesses for undermining Brexit
This newspaper understands that seven out of the 30 Ministers at the summit spoke out against the plan. Mr Johnson left Chequers after dinner late on Friday evening in the back of a Government car, having chosen not to resign. But his position prompted hardline Brexiteer Andrew Bridgen to liken Mr Johnson's approach to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler.
Writing in today's Mail on Sunday, the outspoken Conservative MP says: 'We needed Boris to emulate his hero Churchill. Instead, he gave us a modern-day version of Neville Chamberlain.'
But an ally of Mr Johnson hit back: 'Boris has acted with total propriety. He told the Prime Minister his views openly. There is nothing new in him expressing himself in robust and colourful language. There is no offence in that.'
When asked why Mr Johnson had not resigned, a supporter of the Foreign Secretary said: 'Boris is of more use to the country inside the Cabinet because it will enable him to stop a soft Brexit getting any softer. The only person who would benefit from him leaving Cabinet would be Michel Barnier [the EU's chief Brexit negotiator].
'By staying, Boris can carry on making the argument for the Brexiteers. But he supports collective Cabinet responsibility and will abide by it. He will not be speaking out publicly against the proposals.'
A supporter of the Foreign Secretary, when asked why he hadn't resigned, claimed 'Boris is of more use to the country inside the Cabinet because it will enable him to stop a soft Brexit getting any softer'
No 10 sources claim that Mr Johnson was 'engaged' and 'constructive' throughout the day. They claimed his comment about 'polishing a turd' was light-hearted and denied he said Mrs May risked making the UK a 'vassal state' of the EU.
Drilling down into deal's specifics
What would Theresa May's plan mean for post-Brexit trade?
Under a new UK-EU free trade deal, the UK would abide by EU regulations for industrial, agricultural and food goods. The UK's services sector would lose its current levels of access to EU markets.
How would the Facilitated Customs Arrangement (FCA) work?
All imported goods would be charged the UK tariff at the border, rather than the EU rate. Goods would then be tracked – and if they were sent on to the Continent, then the EU tariff would be charged and the money passed on to Brussels. No10 says the plan allows the UK to sign trade deals with other countries.
What would be the impact on UK sovereignty?
Parliament would have the final say over how EU rules were incorporated into UK law, but would have to pay 'due regard' to European Court of Justice rulings relating to the trade in EU goods
Will the deal lead to a drop in immigration?
Freedom of movement as it stands will come to an end, but an as yet undefined 'mobility framework' will ensure that UK and EU citizens can continue to travel to each other's territories to apply for study or work.
But he is not alone in his denunciation of Mrs May's FCA plan. One of Brexit Secretary David Davis's aides said: 'It is called the FCA because it is a 'f*** up'.'
The drama could revive the tension between Mr Johnson and fellow Brexit campaigner Michael Gove, who infamously betrayed Mr Johnson in the 2016 Tory leadership contest. In contrast with Mr Johnson, the Environment Secretary helped swing the Cabinet behind Mrs May's plan, leaving Boris outgunned. A source close to Mr Gove described his interventions on Friday as 'pragmatic', saying: 'It's going too far to say Michael was cheerleading for May's plan.
'His view was that given that the party does not have a Commons majority, and that the EU is playing hardball, her proposal is probably the best on offer.'
After dinner on Friday, the Prime Minister gave a short speech in which she hailed a 'historic day' and paid a warm tribute to Mr Davis for leading the negotiations.
Mr Davis briefed Mr Barnier on the Chequers proposal yesterday.
Although Mr Barnier has cautiously welcomed the proposals in public, senior EU figures have privately repeated warnings that the UK cannot 'cherry pick' and stay in the single market for goods without allowing sweeping freedoms for EU citizens to enter the UK.
Last night, Mrs May said that her plan was 'a good deal for Britain and a good deal for our future'.
She added that her plan would spell an end to free movement of people; the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK; and 'vast sums' of money going to Brussels – and Britain taking 'control of our money, laws and our borders'.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn challenged her to hold a General Election if she failed to get agreement on the new Brexit plan and said the Chequers agreement 'might unravel in a few days'.
Politician with a penchant for fruity language
Theresa May is just the latest person to have felt the full force of Classics scholar Boris's ripe rhetoric – often laced with four-letter words.
- Two weeks ago it emerged he dismissed business fears about Brexit saying 'f*** business.'
- At the same time he said the UK was heading for a 'bog roll Brexit.'
- In February he was seen muttering 'b******s' at Jeremy Corbyn in the Commons.
- In 2017 he lashed out at 'Leftie tossers' on a visit to Bristol
- In 2016 he caused outrage in Turkey by penning a limerick with the rhyme 'Ankara' and 'w***erer.'
- In 2015 he told a taxi driver to 'f*** off and die.'
Boris Johnson thinks he's Churchill - but this so-called Brexit deal proves he's really Chamberlain, writes ANDREW BRIDGEN
This so-called Brexit deal is nothing short of a betrayal of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU. What on earth were the staunch Leavers in the Cabinet doing?
Where was Boris Johnson? At Chequers on Friday, we needed him to emulate his hero, Winston Churchill. Instead, he gave us a modern-day version of Neville Chamberlain.
Sadly, the Foreign Secretary was not alone in apparently waving the white flag of appeasement in the direction of Brussels. Other Brexiteer buccaneers and recent Brexit converts also jumped ship.
The door to Mrs May's country residence was open but they chose not to walk out of it. Perhaps the threat of the withdrawal of the Government limo was just too great.
This is a huge mistake on two grounds. Firstly, all those harbouring leadership hopes have done their ambitions fatal harm. Grassroots party members will have no truck with their perceived treachery. Some will try to keep their leadership hopes alive by claiming it was not the time to quit and they had a duty to stay on to ensure Brexit is not further watered down. But it leaves only one credible contender with the integrity and backbone to follow Mrs May: Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Secondly, Brexiteer Cabinet Ministers are losing their nerve at the wrong time. This is not the end of the battle – it is the start of the real fight for a true Brexit. What Theresa May unveiled last week appears little short of a punishment Brexit, designed by the EU to dissuade any other country from leaving the bloc.
With no incentive to offer non-EU countries free trade deals when we leave, through mutual recognition of standards, the UK will forever remain a captive market for overpriced EU goods. It means going through the pretence of leaving but becoming a non-voting associate member, a vassal state.
We would still be locked into the EU's suffocating embrace via this 'common rule book' while the dead hand of the European Court of Justice will be lurking in the background.
In contrast, we should call Brussels' bluff and, if necessary, leave without a formal deal. A so-called 'no deal' scenario may sound scary but 'no deal' does not actually mean no deal. It simply means the UK would trade on WTO terms which we use already to trade with most of the world.
The fight to deliver a proper Brexit starts here and now.
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