Conservative Backbenchers Remind Theresa May of Vulnerability on Brexit

Violet Powell
February 22, 2018

More than 60 Conservative MPs have signed a letter to Theresa May making a series of "suggestions" about the government's Brexit strategy, reports.

The group of Conservative lawmakers challenged May to take a harder approach on two key issues: how far British rules should move away from those of the European Union after Brexit, and the nature of the transition period that businesses desperately want.

"She is too weak to face down the fanatics in her own party and to deliver a final deal that protects jobs and the economy".

It is also almost double the number needed to trigger a leadership contest.

"We are writing to reassure you of our continued, strong backing for the clear vision of an internationally-engaged, free-trading, global Britain which you laid out", said the letter, before offering "some suggestions" on how to achieve it.

He claimed the points strengthen "the Government's negotiating position" and underline "that we are not going to be a rule-taker, we are going to be a rule-maker".

Three Scots Tories are among the signatories to a letter from pro-Brexit MPs calling on the United Kingdom to make a clean break from the European Union. She was left weakened by last year's disastrous election.

Theresa May has summoned members of her Brexit "war cabinet" to her country retreat in a bid to resolve tensions over Britain's future relationship with the EU.

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On Tuesday, Davis outlined his idea for future collaboration, promising the other 27 member countries that the United Kingdom won't try to undercut them by tearing up regulations when it leaves.

The letter was sent by the European Research Group (ERG), made up of Tory Eurosceptics, and was signed by 62 MPs, including former Cabinet ministers Priti Patel and Iain Duncan Smith.

The lawmakers' letter was dated February 16. She is then expected to set out her plans in a speech in the next few weeks, before formal trade talks begin in March. "Any implementation period must not restrain the United Kingdom from negotiating or signing other trade agreements".

It warns Mrs May it is vital she secures "full regulatory autonomy" as part of any divorce deal, leaving Britain free to set its own laws without Brussels interference.

The EU has said the transition phase should end on 31 December, 2020, the end of its budget period.

Labour said the letter exposed "deep divisions" within the party.

While the letter stopped short of telling May to drop her transition plan altogether, it does not endorse the "no change" period that May and her ministers have told businesses they can expect next year.

The letters says the United Kingdom must not be stopped from negotiating trade deals with other countries once it leaves the European Union, and must gain full "regulatory autonomy".

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