Tory Eurosceptics Chequers chuckers
As the prime minister tries to persuade the EU to accept some version of her “soft Brexit” Chequers plan, which includes observing a “common rulebook” with the EU for goods and a “facilitated customs arrangement”, the hard-Brexit Tory right are stepping up efforts to kill off Chequers altogether.
The European Research Group (ERG) led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, above, instructs its supporters to campaign to “chuck Chequers”. The disloyalty of the 21st-century Eurosceptics towards their own leader is worse, according to the former prime minister John Major, than that of cabinet rebels he branded “bastards” during Tory battles over Maastricht in the 1990s.
The former Brexit minister Steve Baker, a leading Eurosceptic, says more than 40 Conservative MPs would be prepared to vote against the prime minister if she and the EU agree to a deal even remotely similar to the Chequers proposal.
The ERG wants the UK to strike a Canada-style free-trade deal with the EU, which would allow for tarifffree trade on a large range of goods, but it could take years to negotiate. It would also not eliminate the need for border checks, and would not solve the Irish border problem. As a result many MPs say it would endanger peace in Northern Ireland.