Theresa May has once again been forced into crisis after the bitter bloc rejected her plans. Four arch-Remainers are now on the verge of walking out on Mrs May as the final stages of negotiations loom. The key proposal rejected by the bloc was intended to avoid Britain being trapped in an indefinite customs union.
Mrs May was offering to create an “independent mechanism” to oversee how Britain might leave a temporary customs arrangement if Brexit talks collapsed.
The Prime Minister is trying to thrash out the final details of the divorce deal, but negotiations have stalled over the Irish border.
The “independent mechanism” was seen by leading cabinet figures, including the attorney-general, Geoffrey Cox, as key to preventing the Northern Irish backstop being used to force the UK into remaining a “never-ending rule-taker from Brussels”.
A senior cabinet minister told The Sunday Times: “This is the moment she has to face down Brussels and make it clear to them that they need to compromise, or we will leave without a deal.”
Mrs May’s proposal for an “independent mechanism” to solve the customs dilemma was agreed to be the best way to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic by the Cabinet.
But Brussels has shut down Number 10, saying it would be impossible for the dispute to be enforced by anything other than the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
The proposal by Mrs May was intended to unite her Brexit war cabinet during a meeting with ministers on Tuesday.
However, the latest delay casts doubts over whether the Prime Minister will be able to secure a November summit to strike a deal.
Cabinet sources have said failure to do so would leave the UK struggling to get through complicated legislation needed to ensure the UK departs the EU in March.
David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, told The Sunday Times: “Taking back control of our laws and borders means that a sovereign UK parliament must be able to determine our future as a self-governing, trading nation. Our destiny must not be in the EU’s hands.
“Brussels’s demand that the arbitration panel should be bound by ECJ decisions could result in a permanent backstop arrangement — everlasting customs union membership.
“This makes a mockery of the referendum result. Cabinet ministers need to recognise this and London needs to face down Brussels.”
A Downing Street spokeswoman said the talks were going down to the wire.
She said: ”The prime minister has always said these negotiations are tough and toughest in the final stages.
“The prime minister has told colleagues this week we should aim to conclude the withdrawal agreement as soon as possible but we will not do that at any cost.”
This latest setback for Mrs May comes after Jo Johnson quit as transport minister and called for the public to have a fresh say on Brexit.
The MP, who is Boris Johnson’s brother but voted Remain in the referendum, said the deal being negotiated with the EU “will be a terrible mistake”.
He argued Britain was “on the brink of the greatest crisis” since World War Two, and said what was on offer was not “anything like what was promised”.
Source : EXPRESS