Backbenchers including Eurosceptic former Brexit minister Steve Baker and pro-Brussels ex-Cabinet Nicky Morgan held a third consecutive day of talks with EU Exit Secretary Stephen Barclay at the Cabinet office to discuss the blueprint. Their plan, nicknamed the “Malthouse compromise” at Westminster, involves extending Britain’s transition out of the EU by an extra year. The added time would be used to develop alternative arrangements for the Irish border to replace the so-called “backstop” insurance policy.
Alternatively, the plan puts forward proposals for minimising disruption if no deal can be agreed between the UK and EU by the official Brexit date of March 29.
MPs in the group yesterday revealed around a dozen civil servants had been present at this week’s meetings in a sign the blueprint was being treated as a serious option to put the EU to break the current deadlock in the withdrawal negotiations.
“It is clear a lot of Government time, effort and brain power is going into exploring this,” one of the MPs said.
Supporters of the plan denied that the Prime Minister’s insistence earlier this week that she was looking to change rather than scrap the backstop did not mean the compromise plan was dead.
“She will often stick with the same line until something is formally on the table,” said one MP.
The plan was named after Housing Minister Kit Malthouse, who brought together MPs from opposed wings of the Conservative Party to try to thrash out the compromise.
Other supporters of the group include Jacob Rees-Mogg, the chairman of the hard-line Brexiteer European Research Group of Tory MPs, and Damian Green, a former senior Cabinet minister.
MPs in the group said their compromise has a good chance of securing a majority in the Commons, making it a more serious proposition for EU leaders than proposals for amendments to the backstop which would be rejected by a wide margin.
“The Malthouse compromise has been agreed by MPs across the Conservative Party.
“If the Prime Minister goes to Brussels with that she has a majority of the House of Commons,” the MP added.
But they accepted their proposals will not be ready in time to be presented as a Government position when Mrs May meets EU leaders Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk in Brussels today.
Downing Street officials said talks on the Malthouse plan were continuing.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “There have been good meetings so far; there will be further meetings to take place.”
Source : EXPRESS