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Business patience 'at breaking point' over lack of Brexit clarity

08 July 2018

"We have to listen to what business is telling us and make sure that we deliver a Brexit which delivers the needs of business".

"I have great confidence in the Prime Minister".

She did not deny that the government was now pursuing a Norwegian-style model of single market co-operation following reports in The Times that Downing Street was looking at this option.When asked by Jacob Rees-Mogg whether she would confirm that Britain would leave the EU's customs union at the end of the transition period and no longer be tied to setting the same tariff rates on goods as those set by the European Union, Mrs May said that the United Kingdom would be leaving but declined to answer the second part of his question.She also sidestepped a question from the Labour MP Pat McFadden on whether she would be prepared to extend the transition period. May's foreign minister, Boris Johnson, who also campaigned for Brexit, seemed to support the parliamentarian by tweeting: "It's vital that all MPs are able to air their views on Brexit".

She was dogged, however, by questions about her plans and how she would unite the cabinet behind a strategy that could be the basis of negotiation with the EU.Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, attacked Mrs May saying that her statement was almost 2,000 words but barely mentioned plans for Brexit. May last month created two Cabinet sub-committees to discuss two options for future trade - a customs partnership in which Britain would apply European Union tariffs to goods that are shipped through the country on their way to the continent, and the use of technology to avoid the need for border checks as goods pass between the European Union and Britain.

Theresa May called on European Union leaders to show flexibility and look "seriously" at the UK's Brexit plans as Tory infighting over Europe intensified ahead of crunch talks at Chequers.

He said: "Flouncing out, just when the going gets tough but when the EU Withdrawal Act has been successfully enacted, will look like evading responsibility for choices that were inevitable just when important progress has been made".

Prime Minister Theresa May is struggling to find agreement on post-Brexit customs arrangements so that she can take it into negotiations with the European Union as the clock ticks down to Britain's scheduled exit in March 2019.

"At Chequers the prime minister must stick to her righteous cause and deliver what she has said she would do", Conservative Brexit campaigner Jacob Rees-Mogg wrote in the tabloid newspaper The Sun on Tuesday.

In a podcast for the ConservativeHome website, he said there had been a "breakdown in collective responsibility" in the Cabinet, with pro-EU ministers openly promoting solutions "against the Prime Minister's speeches, against the position formally of the Cabinet and against the manifesto".

In his article, Lord Hague warned that the Brexiteers did not have the numbers in Parliament to force through their vision on a "hard Brexit" and urged them to think through the consequences of creating a leadership crisis.

It also lists what the lawmakers will not accept, including any extension of a transition period beyond December 31, 2020, remaining part of a customs union and any deal which fails to link the payment of a divorce bill to getting a good trade deal.

Ministers have been involved in heated discussions recently as they tried to choose between two earlier models.

Business patience 'at breaking point' over lack of Brexit clarity