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Saturday, 21 July 2018

Cabinet in fresh Brexit battle as Philip Hammond demands EU workers get 'preferential treatment' while Sajid Javid says free movement 'has to end'

Two of Theresa May's surviving government ministers have had a major row over EU migrants during a tense cabinet meeting about Brexit
Chancellor Philip Hammond said EU citizens should get preferential treatment in order to facilitate a deal on Brexit. However, newly-installed Home Secretary Sajid Javid disagreed, as he insisted freedom of movement had to end.  
Hammond firmly believes that allowing freedom of movement in post-Brexit Britain will increase chances of a favourable trade deal. 
According to the Telegraph, the pair had a row during the Cabinet away day in Chequers. 
According to minutes of the meeting Hammond 'disagreed with the Home Secretary on labour mobility and ending free movement'.
The Home Secretary insisted that following Brexit, freedom of movement must endHowever, the Chancellor countered that 'such an agreement would be very important for the people of Germany.' 
Despite the reported row, a cabinet source insisted there was unity in the cabinet following the departure of Boris Johnson and David Davis. 
A government source insisted there was 'difference of opinion between two people'.A source added: 'The Prime Minister has said many times that we will set out our future immigration plans in the White Paper. It is completely non-negotiable that free movement will end.'  
Prime Minister Theresa May robustly defended her Chequers agreement despite the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis. 
The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier noted the proposal but was highly sceptical that it would receive the agreement of the remaining 27 EU member states and the European Parliament. 
Mr Barnier openly questioned the credibility of the UK's proposals in his first response to the Government's white paper on Brexit.
And in comments that will likely alarm arch-Brexiteers in Tory ranks, the vice president of the European Parliament, and MEP for Ireland's governing Fine Gael party, Mairead McGuinness, made it clear to BBC2's Newsnight that Mrs May would need to abandon some of her red lines to clinch a deal.
She said of London's proposals: 'It's a starting point, it's not an end deal.
'I think the British Prime Minister set out red lines too early on and too deeply.
'We are prepared to show flexibility if the British Prime Minister can show flexibility.'
Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood insisted the white paper was a workable compromise.
He told the BBC: 'There is no yes/yes solution here which will balance out the extreme views of the Brexiteers and the extreme views of the Remainers.
'It is therefore essential that we have compromise.
'And this is exactly what the white paper does.
'It means that we have for the Remainers, we have access to goods and services, a deal with Europe as well.
'We have financial markets as well.
"'And on the Leave campaign side of things, the bill, the EU bill stops. We leave the customs union, we leave the agricultural policy, we leave the common fisheries policy, and, of course, we are able to strike our own deals.'
The comments came after Mr Barnier expressed concern that Mrs May's proposal for a 'facilitated customs arrangement' opened up the risk of major fraud, additional bureaucracy and damage to EU businesses.
Tory arch-Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg said Mr Barnier's 'aggressive' comments 'show why we are right to be leaving the mafia-like European Union'.
MailOnline has approached both the Home Office and the Treasury department for a comment. 
May has been consumed by 'the forces of darkness': Tory rebel Anna Soubry accuses the PM of buckling to hard-Brexiteers like Jacob Rees-Mogg who threaten to trash final Brussels deal
Tory rebel Anna Soubry, has accused Theresa May of being consumed by 'the forces of darkness' in her party and warned that, as a result, she and her fellow soft Brexiters may not back the final Brexit deal obtained from Brussels.
The former minister accused Jacob Rees-Mogg's faction of pursuing a hard Brexit that would cost 'hundreds of thousands of jobs' and said they were 'now running Theresa'.
Speaking to The Guardian, Soubry pledged to carry on fighting for a soft Brexit but said that the balance of power within her party had changed. With an 'ultimate elite, who are playing politics with real lives' becoming dominant, she said.Her intervention followed a drama-filled week at Westminster, in which Conservative factions have battled for control, while May tried desperately to keep her job and negotiate Brexit.
On Monday, the Broxtowe MP gave a barnstorming speech during the debate on the customs bill, voicing anger at May's decision to do a deal with Rees-Mogg's European Research Group to head off a damaging rebellion. Until then Soubry had supported the prime minister's new softer Brexit strategy that was signed off at Chequers a fortnight ago.
Reflecting on this, Soubry said: 'Since the referendum, the forces of darkness have taken over and they have continued to take over and this week if there was ever any doubt who was running this government it was quashed.'
Soubry has previously said she would leave the party if Jacob Rees-Mogg was to become the leader and earlier this week said she had been told by the Tory chief whip, Julian Smith, that '80 Conservatives, including a large number of members of the government' had told him they would not support the customs bill unless May accepted the ERG (European Research Group) amendments.
The MP said she believed the ERG were 'ruthless bastards' who would stop at nothing because they believed their cause was 'bigger than anything else'.Her intervention followed a drama-filled week at Westminster, in which Conservative factions have battled for control, while May tried desperately to keep her job and negotiate Brexit.
On Monday, the Broxtowe MP gave a barnstorming speech during the debate on the customs bill, voicing anger at May's decision to do a deal with Rees-Mogg's European Research Group to head off a damaging rebellion. Until then Soubry had supported the prime minister's new softer Brexit strategy that was signed off at Chequers a fortnight ago.
Reflecting on this, Soubry said: 'Since the referendum, the forces of darkness have taken over and they have continued to take over and this week if there was ever any doubt who was running this government it was quashed.'
Soubry has previously said she would leave the party if Jacob Rees-Mogg was to become the leader and earlier this week said she had been told by the Tory chief whip, Julian Smith, that '80 Conservatives, including a large number of members of the government' had told him they would not support the customs bill unless May accepted the ERG (European Research Group) amendments.
The MP said she believed the ERG were 'ruthless bastards' who would stop at nothing because they believed their cause was 'bigger than anything else'.'Now that the forces of darkness have got the prize in sight, they are going for it. I'm afraid that Theresa has embraced these people, they are now running Theresa.'
ERG members, (of which Rees-Mogg is chair), and supporters include a range of Tory backbenchers, from veteran anti-Europe campaigners, such as John Redwood and Bill Cash, through to former ministers David Jones and Steve Baker, and young MPs including Andrea Jenkyns, who want to force out May.
Soubry accused May and party whips of operating a double standard, saying: 'Jacob Rees-Mogg gets his tummy tickled when the ERG threatens to vote against a government bill unless it is amended on policy.'
However, when her ally Dominic Grieve 'suggested parliament should have a vote in the event of no deal', he and his potential Tory supporters were treated differently.
'You are threatened, you are called a traitor, you are threatened with deselection, threats the like of which have never been seen before,' she said.
Soubry warned the prime minister that she and her smaller group of about a dozen 'mutineers' had not given up and could not be relied upon to vote for whatever the prime minister brought back from her Brexit negotiations.
'If she [May] stands a chance of getting her deal through she has to satisfy the mutineers, as we are called,' Soubry said. 'I will vote on the basis of whether it protects jobs and prosperity for my constituents'.The 61-year-old MP said her view of the tight parliamentary arithmetic was that May would have to rely on about a dozen or so Labour MPs to vote with her because she believed that a hardcore of Tory ERG members would not vote for whatever was proposed.
About five Labour MPs, including Kate Hoey and Frank Field, have consistently voted with the government on Brexit, but Soubry said more Labour MPs would be needed for May to see off any Tory rebellions: 'She needs the likes of Caroline Flint to get it through.'
Soubry conceded that the Tory remainer faction lacked the strength and discipline of the ERG up until now, adding that she and like-minded colleagues 'needed to grow a pair' because they had failed to pull out or pulled back from the brink when confronting the government on Brexit.
Soubry said the remainers needed to muster 16 rebels if they were to defeat the government, assuming all the opposition parties voted alongside them. 'We did have at least 16 when the EU withdrawal bill came back, and the big mistake was that we did not do what we said we would do, which was have a vote on the Kerr amendment, which was very tame. That is recognised as being a mistake.'If passed by MPs last month, that amendment, proposed by the former diplomat now crossbench peer John Kerr, would have forced ministers to explain what they had done to pursue remaining in the customs union.
Despite her frustrations, Soubry said it would be 'deeply irresponsible' for anybody to challenge May and accused the prime minister's rival Boris Johnson of 'naked, blind ambition'. 
She said the former foreign secretary and his supporters were engaged in 'willy-waving', making light of the consequences of Brexit. 'This is deeply grownup, serious stuff. Egos and this sort of willy-waving ambition is deeply unacceptable.'
Soubry, who was narrowly re-elected with a majority of 863 last year, said she had no intention of leaving the Conservative party, although she cooperates closely in parliament with pro-European Labour backbenchers Chuka Umunna and Chris Leslie on Brexit. 
'I shall be true to what I believe. It is my intention to stand again in Broxtowe as a Conservative candidate. I just want my party back, please,' she added.
Hardline Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg says 'UK is heading for no deal Brexit... and there's nothing to be scared of'
Hardline Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has said Britain is heading for a no deal exit from the EU.
The Tory MP said that leaving the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms was now likely.
Presenting a phone-in on LBC, Mr Rees-Mogg said: 'I think we are heading to WTO and I think WTO is nothing to be frightened of.'But he said talks should continue with Brussels, stating: 'I think we should carry on negotiating until the end.
'I don't think we necessarily need the theatrics of walking away, but the truth is that WTO is likely to be all that they will offer us.' 
Prime Minister Theresa May is continuing to defend her Chequers agreement despite the resignation of her former Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. The two former cabinet members appeared to support Mrs May's proposals on the night of the deal but left the government after returning to London. 
Yesterday, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier responded to the Chequers proposals. 
One of the major stumbling blocks for a deal between the UK and the EU is the future of Northern Ireland border. 
The PM has appeared to moved away from an agreement she reached with the EU over the Irish border in December following pressure from the Democratic Unionist Party. Mrs May is reliant on the DUP's ten MPs to push through her Brexit plans. Although, North Antrim MP Ian Paisley Jr is likely to be suspended for 30 sitting days once parliament returns in September over a junketeering scandal. 
Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness said Mrs May would need to erase some of her red lines to avoid crashing out of the EU. 
Commenting on the Chequers deal, she said: 'It's a starting point, it's not an end deal.
'I think the British Prime Minister set out red lines too early on and too deeply.
'We are prepared to show flexibility if the British Prime Minister can show flexibility.'  
Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood insisted the white paper was a workable compromise.
He told the BBC: 'There is no yes/yes solution here which will balance out the extreme views of the Brexiteers and the extreme views of the Remainers.
'It is therefore essential that we have compromise.
'And this is exactly what the white paper does.
'It means that we have for the Remainers, we have access to goods and services, a deal with Europe as well.
'We have financial markets as well.
'And on the Leave campaign side of things, the bill, the EU bill stops. We leave the customs union, we leave the agricultural policy, we leave the common fisheries policy, and, of course, we are able to strike our own deals.'
The comments came after Mr Barnier expressed concern that Mrs May's proposal for a 'facilitated customs arrangement' opened up the risk of major fraud, additional bureaucracy and damage to EU businesses.
Meanwhile, Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said she 'hated' the Chequers compromise, according to The Times which said it was quoting minutes of the Cabinet meeting at the PM's country residence earlier in July. 

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