Tory tribes lining up for battle over Brexit
This group includes veteran Brexiteers such as the former cabinet minister John Redwood, who see advantages in Britain walking away on World Trade Organisation terms, avoiding a Brexit divorce bill and the need for a backstop position on the Irish border. They say “no deal” fears are overblown and in the long term the UK could make a better trade agreement.
Hard Brexit pragmatists
Led by David Davis, Steve Baker and Jacob Rees-Mogg, and including Priti Patel, the hard Brexit pragmatists form the bulk of Tory Brexiteers. They can live with the withdrawal agreement and divorce bill but draw the line at any future relationship that keeps Britain as a “rule-taker” from Brussels. They are in favour of a simple free-trade agreement alongside co-operation in areas such as research and security but they reject any form of customs deal or part-membership of the single market included in the proposal agreed at Chequers, in July.
Boris Johnson has been careful not to tie himself to other Tory Brexiteers. He has been clear that he rejects Chequers but has yet to outline in specific terms what strategy he thinks should replace it. Some Tory MPs suspect that his Brexit plan is to become leader himself and then decide what to do. The defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, similarly painted as a political opportunist, has also been put in this category.