Pres­sure on May over Brexit ad­vice

Western Daily Press - - National -

THERESA MAY has faced de­mands from both her own Cab­i­net and her Demo­cratic Union­ist Party al­lies to show the full le­gal ad­vice be­hind her Brexit plans.

The Cab­i­net is on stand-by for fresh talks to agree a Brexit deal amid claims by Tory Leavers that the Prime Min­is­ter has al­ready reached an agree­ment, while Mrs May will up­date Eu­ro­pean Coun­cil pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk on the lat­est de­vel­op­ments.

But Brex­i­teers, in­clud­ing En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Michael Gove, want to see the full le­gal ad­vice set­ting out how any cus­toms ar­range­ment to avoid a hard Ir­ish bor­der could be ended to avoid it be­com­ing a per­ma­nent set­tle­ment.

Sir Jef­frey Donaldson, chief whip for Mrs May’s DUP al­lies, called for the ad­vice to be pub­lished, as did shadow Brexit sec­re­tary Sir Keir Starmer.

The calls came as the Prime Min­is­ter set up five new pan­els to ad­vise on adapt­ing to the post-Brexit busi­ness world.

Lead­ing fig­ures in­clud­ing BT Group chair­man Jan du Plessis and ITV boss Carolyn McCall will co-chair the tele­coms, cre­ative, tech­nol­ogy and me­dia busi­ness coun­cil.

Sir Roger Carr, of BAE Sys­tems, and Roll­sRoyce chair­man Ian Davis will co-chair the in­dus­trial, in­fra­struc­ture and man­u­fac­tur­ing coun­cil and other se­nior fig­ures will also chair busi­ness coun­cils for the small busi­ness, fi­nan­cial and re­tail sec­tors.

Spec­u­la­tion that a Brexit deal is close was fu­elled by leaked doc­u­ments ap­par­ently set­ting out how the Prime Min­is­ter would sell an exit pack­age to the pub­lic.

Down­ing Street dis­tanced it­self from the blue­print re­ported by the BBC but the doc­u­ment height­ened sus­pi­cion among Tory Brex­i­teers that a deal has se­cretly been se­cured.

Mrs May’s plan would see the whole UK ef­fec­tively agree to re­main in the cus­toms union to help avoid a hard bor­der with Ire­land as a “back­stop” if no other ar­range­ment can be found.

Mr Gove wants to see the full le­gal ad­vice set­ting out how an exit from the back­stop can be found to make sure the UK is not per­ma­nently kept within a cus­toms union which would se­verely cur­tail its abil­ity to strike free trade deals with na­tions around the world – a key prize for Brex­i­teers.

With Mrs May re­ly­ing on the 10 DUP MPs for a Com­mons ma­jor­ity, Sir Jef­frey’s de­mand that the le­gal ad­vice be pub­lished – some­thing not nor­mally done by gov­ern­ments – poses a fresh headache for the Prime Min­is­ter.

Sir Jef­frey told BBC Ra­dio 4’s To­day pro­gramme: “I think it’s in the pub­lic in­ter­est we un­der­stand fully what’s hap­pen­ing here.

“It’s be­cause it af­fects the whole UK, there­fore it shouldn’t just be the DUP that sees this ad­vice, or the Gov­ern­ment.

“If the House of Com­mons is go­ing to have a mean­ing­ful vote on a deal that in­cludes, and upon which this le­gal ad­vice is very, very im­por­tant, then I think peo­ple are en­ti­tled to know what that ad­vice is.”

Theresa May

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