06:19 GMT +316 December 2019
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    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends the National Housing Summit in London, September 19, 2018

    Conservative Brexiteers Give UK PM May ‘Canada or Quit’ Ultimatum - Reports

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    Senior figures in the Conservative Party say a Canada-style free trade deal is “the only credible way” British Prime Minister Theresa May could remain the head of the UK government if her Chequers plan fails.

    Sources in the Conservatives who spoke on condition of confidentiality told the Independent said that May won’t be able to renegotiate the Chequers plan if it is rejected by Parliament and the EU.

    READ MORE: Hard Brexit Better Than PM May's Chequers Proposal – French Government

    The prime minister is expected to present her views to the cabinet on Tuesday, outlining updated proposals relating to future customs arrangements and EU regulations to secure the Brexit deal.

    “The prime minister has three potential courses of action if her deal is voted down by Parliament or rejected in Brussels,” a Conservative party member said. “In that case, she may be tempted to try to return to the negotiating table and develop Chequers with further concessions, or alternatively go down the route of joining the EEA. Neither of those is going to be acceptable to the party if Chequers has already been rejected.”

    The source explained that if May tried to further push the Chequers plan, she would put her leadership in jeopardy, and the only plan May could pursue that would be amenable to Brexiteers within the party, such as Boris Johnson, David Davis, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, would be a Canada-style free trade deal, proposed by European Council President Donald Tusk this week.

    “If she undertakes to secure that deal, it would be the only credible way she could possibly stay in the job at that point,” the source said.

    Earlier this week during the Conservative Party conference, it was revealed that MP James Duddridge had sent a letter to the chairman of the Conservative 1922 backbench committee calling for a leadership contest. According to the party rules, the 1922 chair must receive 48 letters from MPs to call a no-confidence vote against the prime minister.

    Another Conservative MP confirmed that May was given an ultimatum to pursue a Canada-style free trade deal if the Chequers plan fails, or else face ouster.

    “Delivering a free trade deal as the only option left that could get through Parliament after the death of Chequers, is the only thing she might stay on to do. Even then it would be in the face of calls to quit,” he said.

    A Cabinet minister told the Independent on the condition of anonymity that it would not be unexpected for May’s team if the party clashed over her leadership, and that the prime minister understands she will be held responsible if her Brexit plan fails. He also noted that there is a clear understanding among the Cabinet that a free trade deal will be the only viable option if the Chequers plan fails.

    On Thursday, Tusk said that a Canada-style deal had always been possible “from the beginning” of the negotiations. The final round of Brexit talks between the UK and the EU is planned for October 16. After that, May will have only until November 16 to make any amendments to the Brexit plans.


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    Brexit plan, Brexiteers, Brexit deal, Brexit 'divorce bill', Brexit negotiations, Brexit 'deal or no deal', Brexit, Tory, Conservative Party, Theresa May, United Kingdom
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