Theresa May warned she will lose support of her party over Brexit deal
Theresa May was today warned she will lose the support of Conservative MPs if a draft Brexit agreement could see the UK being kept in a customs union with the EU.
Veteran Brexit supporter Peter Bone issued the stark warning to the Prime Minister less than two hours before a meeting of the cabinet to consider a deal thrashed out by negotiators in Brussels.
While the text of the draft agreement has not yet been made public, it has been reported the UK would agree to be in a customs union with the EU as a backstop solution to avoid a hard border with Ireland if no trade deal can be reached.
Leading ministers were invited into Downing Street one by one on Tuesday evening to study the text, with formal sign off by the cabinet expected in a meeting starting at 2pm on Wednesday.
Bone summed up the frustrations of many Tory Brexiters when he addressed May in Prime Ministers Questions at just after 12pm on Wednesday.
He said: “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 replied: “What we have been negotiating is a deal that does deliver on the vote of the British people.”
She went on to flag up the end of free movement of people as a key area of reform secured in the negotiations.
Many Brexit supporters, including former Cabinet ministers Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith and Priti Patel appeared stony-faced as May defended the draft agreement, with Patel shaking her head as the Prime Minister talked up how the deal would help the UKs international trading position.
If the cabinet agrees to the deal, it will be down to the EU27 to decide if they want to convene a special summit later this month to sign off the agreement.
Even if the EU back the deal, May still needs to get it through parliament – a move which looks increasingly difficult as a number of Tory MPs have already said they will vote against the proposal.