Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove are said to favour a Canada-style deal. AFP.
Sam Coates, Deputy Political Editor | Bruno Waterfield, Brussels
September 27 2018
Theresa May is losing cabinet support for her plan to revert to a no-deal Brexit if Europe rejects the Chequers proposals, sources have told The Times.
Senior ministers are increasingly worried that the prime minister will stick to her promise to force a no-deal Brexit if Europe rejects her plan again next month. Mrs May said on Tuesday: “I’ve always said no deal is better than a bad deal, and I think a bad deal, for example, would be something that broke up the United Kingdom.”
Cabinet ministers are said to be looking at how to prevent Mrs May from locking Britain into a no-deal Brexit. Sources say that those opposed to her strategy include Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, Michael Gove, the environment secretary, and Sajid Javid, the home secretary.
They want her to consider a Canada-style free-trade deal if the EU rejects her proposals again at a summit on October 18, giving her a Plan B to avoid a no-deal. Their private concerns come after they backed Mrs May’s negotiating position at a recent cabinet meeting.
“We don’t want a no-deal and lots of people think her tactic means we can get there by accident,” one source said. “We think that a Canada deal is better than no deal.”
The group is not thought, however, to have presented any clear solution to the issue of the Northern Ireland border. Mrs May said this week that a Canada-type agreement that would, in effect, leave Northern Ireland in the single market and customs union, was not an option. This key group of cabinet “swing voters” insist that they will remain loyal and back Mrs May’s Chequers plan through the conference season.