Today, Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, warned that she will lose the support of Conservative MPs if a draft Brexit agreement could see the United Kingdom being kept in a customs union with the European Union.
Peter Bone, a Veteran Brexit supporter, issued the stark warning to the Prime Minister less than two hours prior to a meeting of the cabinet to consider a deal that was thrashed out by the negotiators in Brussels.
While the text of the draft agreement has not yet been released to the public, it has been reported that the United Kingdom would agree to be in a customs union with the European Union as a backstop solution to avoid a hard border with Ireland once no trade deal can be reached.
Some leading ministers were invited into Downing Street one by one on last night to study the text, with formal sign off by the cabinet anticipated in a meeting beginning at 2 pm on Wednesday.
Bone summed up the frustrations of most of the Tory Brexiters when he addressed May in Prime Minister’s Questions after 12 pm on Wednesday.
He stated: “Is the Prime Minister aware that if the media reports about the EU agreement are in anyway accurate, you are not delivering the Brexit people voted for and today you will lose the support of many Conservative MPs and millions of voters across the country?”
May answered: “What we have been negotiating is a deal that does deliver on the vote of the British people.”
PM May went on to flag up the end of free movement of people as a fundamental area of reform that is secured in the negotiations.
Several supporters of Brexit, including former Cabinet ministers Iain Duncan Smith, Priti Patel, and Boris Johnson appeared stony-faced as PM May defended the draft agreement, with Patel shaking her head as the Prime Minister discussed how the deal would be helping the international trading position of the United Kingdom.
Once the cabinet agrees to the deal, it will be down to the EU27 to decide if they would want to convene a special summit later this month to sign off the agreement.
Even if the European Union supports the deal, May must still get it through parliament – a move which looks increasingly hard as a number of Tory MPs have already said that they will be voting against the proposal.