Published: Tue, July 17, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

Theresa May faces Trade Bill showdown

Theresa May faces Trade Bill showdown

"The only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians, away from the backroom deals, and give it back to the people", she added.

Pro-EU Conservatives have also tabled objections to the customs and trade bill, while former education secretary and remainer Justine Greening has called for a second referendum.

Two top ministers, Boris Johnson and David Davis, quit in protest last week followed by a string of junior walkouts, including another on Monday.

On Sunday, May attempted to face down would-be eurosceptic rebels by warning that if they sink her premiership then they risk squandering the victory of an European Union exit that they have dreamed about for decades.

In a series of votes, May could come under attack from arch-Brexiteers in her own Conservative Party who think her plans have watered down Brexit and will leave Britain shackled to the European Union once it leaves the bloc in March.

Mrs May has repeatedly ruled out being in a customs union with Brussels after Brexit on the grounds it would leave Britain too closely tied to the EU.

On Monday, May gave in to Tory hardliners by accepting four amendments to the bill, underpinned by her Brexit white paper, meant to toughen up her negotiating stance.

The raft of resignations leaves Prime Minster May with a significant Brexit headache, with many ministers warning that a split may be on the way.

In an article in the Mail on Sunday, May urged eurosceptics to keep their "eyes on the prize", warning: "If we don't, we risk ending up with no Brexit at all".

The most talked-about of the four amendments proposes to make it illegal for the British taxman to collect duties for the European Union without reciprocal arrangements, after May proposed that the United Kingdom would collect tariffs on goods heading for the EU after Brexit.

Last week, members of the hard Brexit group put down four amendments to the taxation (cross-border trade) bill due to be debated on Monday evening, aimed at halting the customs plan announced by May at Chequers nine days ago. Hammond told MPs: "This does not undermine the bill, it keeps it on the road".

EU affairs ministers will soon have their first chance to discuss the UK's white paper, the UK's policy on its relationship with the EU after Brexit, and how they would tackle key issues, such as trade between the EU and UK.

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