Theresa May Stares Down Revolt Over EU Customs Union

© AP Photo / Thierry Charlier/Pool British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, left and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrive for a meeting during the NATO summit of heads of state and government, at the NATO headquarters, in Brussels on Thursday, May 25, 2017
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, left and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrive for a meeting during the NATO summit of heads of state and government, at the NATO headquarters, in Brussels on Thursday, May 25, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Pressure from the hard-right of the Conservative Party has been the most consistent threat to Theresa May's leadership of the Party, forcing her into pursuit of a Hard Brexit negotiating position.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is again facing the threat of a revolt from the Hard Brexiteer faction of the Conservative Party over reports the PM is prepared to compromise on her commitment to leave the European Customs Union when Britain extracts itself from the EU.

The Prime Minister's office has reportedly responded to the pressure coming from the party's right-wing by suggesting that an upcoming parliamentary vote on whether Britain will remain in the Customs Union will be a "confidence vote" in the government itself, suggesting that a defeat would lead to the collapse of the government and not just Mrs May's leadership.

A leading figure in the Conservative Party and a strong supporter of the Remain campaign, former Secretary of Business and Justice Ken Clarke, has urged members of his party to ignore the PM's ultimatum in statements to the British media and supported what he considers her moves to remain in the Customs Union, thereby pursuing a "Soft Brexit" with Europe as opposed to a "Hard Brexit."

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a media conference with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at EU headquarters in Brussels on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. - Sputnik International
UK PM May Loses Brexit Legislation Vote on EU Customs Union in Upper House
The Customs Union is the body through which all 28 European Union member states collectively negotiate international trade deals with other states, rather than as individual countries. Leaving the Customs Union would enable Britain to independently negotiate its own agreements with non-European countries and has been a key argument of the so-called "Hard Brexiteers," such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Agriculture Secretary Michael Gove, in favor of the UK exiting the EU.

 

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