Tory Europhiles Re­main­ers’ re­vival

The Observer - - Focus -

While the diehard Euroscep­tics pull from the right and want a Canadastyle agree­ment, Tory Europhiles are ap­ply­ing sim­i­lar lev­els of pres­sure on the prime min­is­ter from the left. Any hint of a Canada-style deal and they would vote against the agree­ment in par­lia­ment.

They want to keep the UK in a cus­toms union and as close to the sin­gle mar­ket as pos­si­ble. It’s thought that at least two dozen Con­ser­va­tive MPs could vote against any deal that they re­gard as de­liv­er­ing too hard a Brexit.

A new Europhile group­ing, sim­i­lar to the Eu­ro­pean Re­search Group, is be­ing formed to co­or­di­nate par­lia­men­tary tac­tics.

Tory Europhiles are try­ing to per­suade May that, if she strikes a sen­si­ble soft-Brexit deal that keeps the UK in a cus­toms union at the very least, she could well per­suade dozens of Labour MPs who want Brexit done and dusted, but dread a no-deal out­come, to defy Jeremy Cor­byn and back her in par­lia­ment to get her deal through.

Some Tory MPs – in­clud­ing the for­mer min­is­ters Jus­tine Green­ing, be­low, Phillip Lee and Anna Soubry – want a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum to give the pub­lic a chance to vote to stay in.

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