May has just DAYS to break customs deadlock in 'War Cabinet' after Brexiteers 'kill off' her EU partnership plan in tense showdown that left Remainers 'close to tears'

Mail Online | 3/29/2017 | James Tapsfield, Political Editor For Mailonline
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Theresa May has just days to find a way to revive her plans for a customs deal with the EU after she was humiliatingly overruled by her Brexit War Cabinet.

The Prime Minister's favoured blueprint for a 'partnership' arrangement with Brussels was heavily criticised by senior ministers at a tense three-hour meeting said to have left one Remainer 'close to tears'.

New - Home - Secretary - Sajid - Javid

New Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson both voiced 'grave concerns' about the proposal for the UK to collect duties on behalf of the EU.

Whitehall sources said the plan, which critics claim would keep Britain in a customs union in all but name, would 'not go forward in its current form'.

Ministers - Agree - Plan - Facilitation - Technology

But ministers also failed agree on the alternative plan, known as 'maximum facilitation', which envisages using technology to minimise customs checks, particularly on the Irish border.

It means that the government is going back to the drawing board, with time running out ahead of a crucial EU summit in June.

Mrs - May - Gathering - Opportunity - Proposals

Mrs May had hoped the gathering would be an opportunity to present firm proposals for future trade to the bloc's leaders.

Brussels has been warning that failure to make progress at the summit - particularly on a way to avoid a hard Irish border - could stall negotiations altogether.

Mrs - May - Prospect - Parliament - Hand

Meanwhile, Mrs May is also facing the prospect that Parliament could bid to force her hand on the trade plans.

According to the Spectator, chief whip Julian Smith has warned the Cabinet that the government is set to lose a looming vote demanding that the UK stays in a customs union with the EU - potentially breaking a Brexit red line drawn by Mrs May.

Questions - Commons - Today - Brexit - Secretary

Answering questions in the Commons today, Brexit Secretary David Davis played down fears that ministers are at loggerheads.

'It is no surprise that it takes some time to nail...
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