17:57 GMT +317 October 2018
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    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends the National Housing Summit in London, September 19, 2018

    'It’s Like the Suez Crisis': Ministers Warn Hard Brexit May Break Up UK

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    After her Brexit plan was rejected at last week’s EU summit in Salzburg, Prime Minister Theresa May has been facing renewed pressure from Cabinet ministers and prominent backbenchers to give up on her Chequers blueprint and seek a looser free trade deal with Brussels.

    Brexiteers are pushing for a clean split from the European Union, a move some Cabinet ministers fear could precipitate the country’s breakup and effectively place a border between Britain and Northern Ireland, putting the latter “in the departure lounge from the UK,” The Guardian wrote.

    Some also fear that the move could reignite the debate about Scotland’s place in the UK and further unravel the union.

    “Nobody voted Brexit to break up the UK,” one minister said. “Those advocating [the free trade deal] approach need to face up to the consequences for the union,” another said.

    Since the EU leaders turned down Theresa May’s Chequers deal during their summit in Salzburg last week, dissent has been building once again among some prominent Tories behind the idea of securing a free trade deal similar to that given to Canada.

    The impasse has led senior Tories to compare the situation to the 1956 Suez crisis that cost Anthony Eden his tenure as prime minister, with a major Tory donor warning that “this will accelerate business concern even further. This ends up with us suffering a series of quite cataclysmic events."

    “It is like the Suez crisis. You just don’t know what the unintended consequences will be. The next three weeks could change everything. The Suez crisis went on for months and this is up there with some of the great turning points in British political history,” he said.

    Some Tory aides are worried about the lack of support for May’s Brexit road map and fear that another snap election may be needed before the end of the year.

    On Wednesday and Thursday, EU heads of state and government gathered for an informal meeting in the Austrian city of Salzburg.

    During the talks, May presented her Brexit plan to other EU leaders, who characterized it as unworkable.

    READ MORE: EU Leaders Gang Up on Theresa May in Salzburg, Brace for No-Deal Brexit

    With the Brexit deadline now less than 200 days away, the two sides still have yet to reach a divorce deal with officials, and are increasingly expecting  an informal October deadline to slip into November.

    Related:

    EU Leaders Gang Up on Theresa May in Salzburg, Brace for No-Deal Brexit
    UK Ministers to Ask May to Offer New Brexit Plan After Salzburg Talks - Reports
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    Chequers plan, EU summit, Brexit, rejection, EU, Theresa May, United Kingdom
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