May bows to pressure from Tory Brexiteers over customs plan

Theresa May

It was not clear the move would fundamentally change her plans - the changes do little more than to put government policy into law, her spokesman said - but it was a victory of sorts for those MPs who say May has betrayed them on Brexit, the biggest shift in British trade and foreign policy for decades.

Although the measures are unlikely to pass in the absence of Labour support, it could prove an opportunity for a show of strength by the rebels meant to pressurise her into retreat.

May is now facing a possible rebellion from Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party who want her to ditch her plan when lawmakers vote on amendments to legislation on the government's post-Brexit customs regime on Monday.

As Theresa May's government continues to reel over its divisive plan to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union, the Prime Minister has rejected the idea of a second vote that would give the British people another say before the country officially hits the exits in March 2019.

Her recent white paper outlining plans for a common rule book with the European Union over trade in goods has infuriated those who favour a complete break even if it risks causing an economic shock.

A government spokesperson said on Monday that May had agreed to accept all amendments, as the government believed they were "consistent" with the prime minister's Brexit plan, agreed at Chequers last week.

It was unclear whether they will actually press them to a vote after some pro-EU MPs backed Mrs May's Chequers plan and EU white paper.

In a BBC television interview on Sunday, Mrs May said she understood the strength of feelings driving the Brexit debate. It prompted the resignation of Boris Johnson and David Davis from the cabinet, as well as the departures of Baker and a string of more junior ministers.

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"The British public have votes to leave the European Union". In the London Evening Standard, the Tory former attorney general wrote: 'In a deeply divided country we must either work together to get the best deal we can and this needs compromise, or accept Brexit cannot be implemented and think again about what we are doing'.

Noting the deep divisions in government and parliament on the way forward, Greening said voters must decide - becoming the most senior member of May's Conservative party to back the idea.

But her plans have been criticised by pro-EU Conservative lawmakers, with one former minister calling it the "worst of all worlds", while eurosceptics say the strategy will keep Britain firmly in the bloc's sphere of influence.

The amendments to be voted on Monday are unlikely to pass without Labour support, but they represent a show of power by Brexiteer MPs toward the prime minister.

"We need to keep our eyes on the prize".

"It's also quite likely to be either rejected by the European Union or more demands will be made upon it so it will be even less acceptable".

Conservative former Cabinet minister Ken Clarke told MPs that the Government's adoption of ERG amendments was "directly inconsistent with the white paper of a week ago".

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