Eurosceptic lawmakers will not back the government’s withdrawal deal even if negotiators are able to add an exit clause to the Irish backstop, a former Brexit minister has warned.
The former minister, Steve Baker, on Thursday said their opposition to the deal stretches far beyond the backstop, insisting Tory Brexiteers will want further concessions before throwing their weight behind the agreement.
“In the end, it’s not really about the backstop. The tearing frustration is that the UK has been negotiating with itself,” he said.
However, he did indicate that a solution to the matter would be a step forward, as PM May looks to mobilize support to bolster the chances of an eventual deal getting through parliament.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – a key government ally – has explicitly warned it will do everything its power to block a deal which threatens to divide Britain or undermines the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement, potentially forcing the government to rely on support from Labour MPs to get the deal through parliament.
Meanwhile, PM May is facing the prospect a revolt from within her own cabinet, with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox insisting that only the UK government – without anyone else’s input – is fit to decide to pull out of the Irish backstop.
Specifically, Fox hit out at proposals for Britain to have to file a case with an independent arbitrator to agree when the UK can withdraw from the backstop, insisting the decision should not be “subcontracted out.”
Other cabinet members share his concerns and won’t accept May’s proposed solution, according to reports.