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    British Prime Minister Theresa May listens at the start of her meeting with the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani inside 10 Downing Street in London, Tuesday, July 24, 2018

    ‘I Think Theresa May is Very Strong’ – James Marlow of the Conservative Party

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    Prime Minister Theresa May’s officials are drawing up plans to rush her Brexit deal through Parliament in an attempt to head off a rebellion from her own party, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

    The article says that May’s team wants the final withdrawal agreement ratified by lawmakers within two weeks of signing the terms of the divorce in Brussels. Under that timetable, members of Parliament would vote on whether to accept or reject the divorce treaty by the beginning of December, a source quoted by Bloomberg says.

    Radio Sputnik discussed Theresa May’s reported plan to rush her Brexit deal through Parliament with James Marlow, a member of the UK’s Conservative Party.

    Sputnik: Reports are coming in that Theresa May intends to rush her Brexit deal through parliament. What is your take on the timing? How successful is it going to be?

    James Marlow: Well, I saw the article in Bloomberg, the one which you just quoted as well. So I am not sure that people who are in the UK can call it a rush. As there has been a great deal of dissatisfaction on all sides in the UK  simply because of the amount of time that it has taken: it was June 2016.

    But the referendum to leave the EU became known, it was 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU. It took Mrs. May 9 months; well in fact as you know, there was a leadership challenge. Mrs. May won the leadership challenge, 9 months from that point to trigger article 50 and since that time we have been in a little bit of muddle as to exactly what is taking place.

    Mrs. May right now is determined to, as she made very clear at the Conservative Party Conference which ended yesterday, she is very, very determined to take Britain out of the EU. But there is a good question as to exactly what that means. Does it mean actually having a connection with the EU, like Norway or Switzerland, or does it mean completely coming out, i.e. the Customs Union and the Single Market and not being under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice?

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    That seems to be a bit of a debate taking place right now between those people who just want to get on with the job and get out. So people generally feel, the sooner it's done, the better, and then we can start making trade deals with other countries around the world.

    Sputnik: What about the lawmakers? Are they going to manage to vote within this deadline? I mean, how rushed is all of this?

    James Marlow: Well, I don't think it's going to be rushed, to answer your original question, which I am not sure that I did. But I don't think it is really going to be rushed. Of course, you could argue the fact that we only got six months; we will be out by March the 30. At least that's what we keep being told all the time. Now there is the possibility of an interim agreement, in other words, because six months is likely to be very quick, generally, as one, I can speak from experience on this, as one gets a little bit older, time seems to go by much quicker than what it did when you were a younger teenager.

    But nevertheless, we are on a downhill trip now, the route to leave the EU. But there has to be a deal and at the moment there is no deal. There is something which is called the Chequers agreement. The Chequers agreement is what Mrs. May describes as actually leaving the Customs Union and leaving the Single Market. Just for the sake of your listeners, leaving the Customs Union is so important, because if we were in the Customs Union, it means that we are unable to do specific free trade deals with any other countries outside of the EU.

    And leaving the Single Market is essential because if we remained within the Single Market, that means that we still have this uncontrolled flow of immigration coming into the UK from the other 27 nation states of the EU. So, those people who voted for us to leave, it wasn't Brexit, they voted because Brexit wasn't on the ballot paper. They voted to leave the EU, specifically to do deals with countries around the world; in other words, with South America and Asia. There are two small nations over there called China and India.

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    They seem to be very keen on getting a deal done specifically with Britain, but if we remain within the Customs Union that won't be possible. Now, the problem is that Mrs. May says her Chequers deal means that we would leave the Customs Union and we would leave the EU. However, there are other Conservative Party members, i.e. Boris Johnson, David Davis, those are the two members who left the Cabinet, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who was never in the Cabinet, but a very outspoken person on Brexit, making it very clear that we were still under the auspices of the Customs Union.

    So there is a great big fight within the Conservative Party. And if you think it is bad in the Conservative Party, it is much, much worse within Labour. Don't be sure that we will go over to that. But right now that the Conservatives are in power and they are the ones who have to make the decision.

    And it really remains to be seen whether the EU is going to come back and suggest a follow-up because they rejected Chequers; if they will suggest some other type of agreement, or whether we simply leave without an agreement.

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    Sputnik: Could we perhaps talk a bit more about Theresa May's position right now, because it's been tenuous. How weak or strong is she? What's happening?

    James Marlow: I think she is very strong. I know that's not a very popular statement to make within the Conservative Party, and certainly outside the Conservative Party. But I think she is very strong. The reason is that we keep hearing all the time that somebody will make a leadership challenge, i.e. Boris Johnson and he made that fringe speech on Tuesday, at the Conservative Party Conference.

    In fact, more people went in to hear that unofficial speech, more than 2000 people wanted to hear Boris speak, rather than the official stage, which was one of the Cabinet ministers speaking. So, that was quite an eye-opener. You see, there is not an opportunity for anyone within the Conservative Party to make a leadership bid at this time.

    You need around 47 members of Parliament from the Conservative Party to bring it forth to what is known as the 1922 Committee, they are like the hierarchy bosses within the Conservative Party, and they are the ones who will, therefore, find a candidate to put forward against Mrs. May. But I just don't think that whoever that candidate is going to be will get the votes from the Conservative members of Parliament and I don't think anyone really wants to step in before the end of March.

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    So, Mrs. May, I am quite certain, will be prime minister well into April, well into May at that point. That goes completely against the former chancellor of the Conservative Party, George Osborn, who, when he left or rather he was ousted out by Mrs. May, and he has now become the editor of a London newspaper called The Evening Standard.

    He wrote some very derogatory and very negative statements about Mrs. May, saying that she was a walking corpse and she had only a few weeks left. I mean two and a half years later, almost, she is still in power.

    Views and opinions expressed in the article are those of James Marlow and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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