80 Tory MPs will re­ject Che­quers plan, says for­mer min­is­ter

The Guardian Weekly - - UK News - Peter Walker

The Con­ser­va­tives face a “cat­a­strophic split” if Theresa May re­lies on Labour votes to push her Che­quers plan through par­lia­ment, one of the prime min­is­ter’s most per­sis­tent crit­ics has warned.

The for­mer ju­nior Brexit min­is­ter Steve Baker said at least 80 Con­ser­va­tive MPs would be will­ing to vote against the plan, which Euroscep­tics ar­gue ties the UK too closely to the EU on reg­u­la­tion, ham­per­ing fu­ture trade deals.

“If we come out of con­fer­ence with her hop­ing to get Che­quers through on the back of Labour votes, I think the EU ne­go­tia­tors would prob­a­bly un­der­stand that if that were done, the Tory party would suf­fer the cat­a­strophic split which thus far we have man­aged to avoid,” Baker told the Press As­so­ci­a­tion. “It is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to see how we can res­cue the Con­ser­va­tive party ... if the Che­quers pro­pos­als are car­ried for­ward.”

Jus­tice sec­re­tary David Gauke cas­ti­gated Baker and fel­low Euroscep­tics for not hav­ing a co­her­ent plan: “This is a process that is go­ing to re­quire com­pro­mises from all sides. Frankly, there isn’t an al­ter­na­tive by the crit­ics of Che­quers.”

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