Theresa May pledged she would not be “pushed into accepting compromises” on the Brexit plan agreed by her Cabinet in July that are not in the U.K.’s national interest.
In a bullish op-ed for the Sunday Telegraph ahead of the full return of the U.K. parliament she repeated her commitment to leaving the EU on March 29 next year and to fend off calls for a second referendum on the eventual deal.
But she hinted that the government’s proposal for future immigration arrangements with the EU would give the bloc’s citizens special access to the U.K. in return for better trade terms — something that would infuriate many Brexiteers in her party.
“Provisions for limited mobility arrangements are commonplace in other trade agreements. In the same way our proposed ‘framework for mobility’ is simply a way of supporting a trading relationship,” she said. But the prime minister added that “unfettered access to the UK” and the country’s benefits system would end.
May said that a no-deal scenario would be difficult for both sides and it was the government’s duty to prepare for it. “For some sectors there would be real challenges for both the UK and the EU. But we would get through it and go on to thrive. So we will be ready for a no deal if we need to be,” she said.
Also writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the former minister and Tory backbencher Nick Boles came out against the Chequers plan and what he predicted would be the “humiliation of a deal dictated by Brussels.”
Boles, who described himself as an “instinctive loyalist” who had never voted against the government, backed Remain in the referendum. He has previously supported the prime minister’s approach to Brexit.
But he said voters in his constituency reacted with “dismay” to the Chequers plan and “I have concluded that I must put my country first.”
He has put forward his own Brexit plan which would involve the U.K. leaving the EU next year without a transition period but remaining within the European Economic Area for a time while it negotiated a long-term deal with Brussels.