Published: Sun, July 22, 2018

Brits reject May's Brexit plan, some turn to Boris and far right

Brits reject May's Brexit plan, some turn to Boris and far right

May's political vulnerability was exposed by the survey which found voters would prefer Boris Johnson, who quit as her foreign minister two weeks ago, to negotiate with the European Union and lead the Conservative Party into the next election.

'You can't have one side fulfilling its side of the bargain and the other side not, or going slow, or failing to commit on its side.

But while the negotiations have rarely looked so in danger of failing, senior EU officials and diplomats do not see any objective in an extension to article 50, the two-year negotiating period set aside for a member withdrawing from the union, unless there is a change in British politics that can offer genuine hope of a better outcome. Nearly half think it would be bad for Britain.

Former EU trade official Peter Guilford told me this week he believes the Brussels rumours that Brexit talks will go down to the wire this autumn and it would only be when the Commission "saw the whites of United Kingdom negotiators' eyes" that they would start making their own compromises instead of always hammering the United Kingdom for them.

Barnier's damning words followed a first meeting with the UK's new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, which he said had been a "very useful and very cordial meeting".

The former Brexit Secretary unleashed another salvo at the PM's compromise blueprint for future trade as he urged her to step up preparations for "no deal" with the EU. "We have a duty of care", Barnier said.

In his first detailed response to the White Paper, Mr Barnier noted that it was "the result of a very intense internal debate in the United Kingdom, a debate that was necessary and I think we have all seen that this debate in the United Kingdom is not over yet".

Pressed on whether he would put such a provision into legislation, Mr Raab said: 'Certainly it needs to go into the arrangements we have at global level with our European Union partners.

Finance minister Philip Hammond said shortly afterwards he found it "inconceivable" Britain would not pay its bill, which he described as "not a credible scenario". "The problem is not that we failed to make the case for a free trade agreement of the kind spelled out at Lancaster House - we haven't even tried".

"The earlier we can achieve this certainty and clarity, the earlier we can start discussions on our future partnership".

Mr Raab also defended the controversial Chequers Cabinet compromise on withdrawal aims, insisting he wanted to persuade voters and Cabinet colleagues that it is the way forward.

She said that she had made "protecting and strengthening our own special Union an absolute priority" during her government's Brexit negotiations with the bloc.

All in all, the European Union negotiator's statement lends weight to David Davis's warning that the Chequers "negotiating approach will... just lead to further demands for concessions" - and the Prime Minister facing great difficulty as she attempts to sell it over the course of the parliamentary summer recess.

Just 11 per cent thought Mrs May's plans would be good for Britain, according to the research.

Only one in 10 voters would pick the government's proposed Brexit plans if there were a second referendum, according to the poll.

Thirty-eight percent of people would vote for a new right-wing party that is committed to Brexit, while nearly a quarter would support an explicitly far-right anti-immigrant, anti-Islam party, the poll found.

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