LONDON (Dispatches) -- Eurosceptic members of the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party have failed to agree on an alternative plan for Brexit that could replace that of Prime Minister Theresa May, media reports suggest.
The Financial Times said Tuesday that the hardline Tories had failed to agree on a draft document announced last week and meant to replace May’s white paper for Brexit, which has been known as Chequers plan after it was announced in early July in premier’s country residence with the same name.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a fierce critic of May’s Brexit strategy, said he and other supporters of the alternative plan had revised their intention of publishing the 140-page draft after they failed to reach an agreement on the document.
"The truth is that we reconsidered,” said Rees-Mogg, who chairs the pro-Brexit European Research Group which compiled the draft.
Eurosceptics’ failure to agree on an alternative Brexit strategy comes amid reports that more conservative lawmakers are becoming opposed to May’s way of handling Brexit talks with the EU. Steve Baker, a senior Tory lawmaker, said Monday that some 80 or more lawmakers were prepared to vote against Chequers plan in an upcoming Conservative Party conference in late September. That could pile more pressure on May as she struggles to negotiate a deal on who Britain would interact with the EU once it leaves the bloc in March next year.
However, fears about May’s failure in talks with Brussels eased later on Monday when EU’s top Brexit negotiator announced that a deal on Britain’s withdrawal would be possible in six to eight weeks time. Barnier said that the two sides still differed on some issues, especially the future state of border in Ireland, but reiterated that a deal would be in reach if Britain and the EU stuck to the realities.