09:39 GMT04 August 2020
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    With the clock ticking on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, the country remains divided on the terms of its divorce from the bloc.

    Just as the Conservative Party gathered in Birmingham for its last conference before Britain is due to leave the European Union, some Tory MPs believe that the country needs a tougher person in the ongoing Brexit talks with Brussels, Sky News wrote.

    Peter Bone, a pro-Leave Tory MP, told a fringe event the UK "would have been out by now" if the ex-UKIP leader was at the helm.

    Britain would have "would have been out [of the EU] by now" if ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage was in charge of the ongoing divorce talks with Brussels, a prominent Tory lawmaker said.

    Speaking at a Sunday rally, held just minutes ahead of the official Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Peter Bone hailed Farage, who is currently serving as a Vice Chairman of the pro-Brexit Leave Means Leave organization, and urged Prime Minister Theresa May to “chuck” her Chequers plan for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

    The rally was the latest in a series of interventions designed to pile pressure on May to drop her EU withdrawal roadmap.

    However, the prime minister has dug in her heels defending the plan.

    Just as the Conservative Party conference opened in Birmingham on Sunday, amid deep divisions over Brexit, Theresa May denied that her Chequers plan for future relations with the EU is dead.

    "Chequers at the moment is the only plan on the table that delivers on the Brexit vote and also delivers for the people of Northern Ireland," she said.

    She tried to shift the focus to domestic agenda and urged Tory MPs and party rank and file to endorse the Chequers blueprint.
    However, she risked infuriating the party’s pro-Brexit grassroots by refusing to rule out further compromises to the plan in a bid to broker a final deal.

    Meanwhile, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in downtown Birmingham for a Best for Britain rally, including some Conservative activists waving “Tories Against Brexit” banners.

    Party Conference: Day 1

    On the first day of the conferences, the government announced plans for a surcharge on sales of property to foreign nationals who do not pay UK tax in an effort to ease pressure on the housing market and make homes more affordable for Britons.

    Ministers are also considering cutting taxes levied on businesses to help the high street.

    "A presence on a high street… makes a big contribution to the community, and to villages, towns and cities — and I think some recognition of that is required," Business Secretary Greg Clark said.

    Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said that a teenage cyber-cadet force will be recruited to help defend the nation against online attacks.

    The government plans to spend £1 million ($1.3 million) to train 2,000 cadets a year "protect our nation against sophisticated and evolving threats."

    The project will be the first of its kind in a NATO state.

    READ MORE: Ex-Brexit Secretary Davis to Vote Against Chequers, Says Proposal 'Just Wrong'

    With the March 2019 Brexit deadline now less than 200 days away, the two sides remain divided on a number of issues, including the Irish border and customs arrangements.

    The EU leaders’ rejection of the Brexit blueprint Theresa May presented at last month’s EU summit in Austria has increased the possibility of Britain leaving the bloc without a deal.


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    Chequers plan, party conference, Brexit talks, divisions, EU, British Conservative Party, Peter Bone, Theresa May, United Kingdom
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