Ex-minister calls for second Brexit vote

Theresa May

GETTYTheresa May is'running scared as summer recess could start early

Theresa May has bowed to pressure from Tory Brexiteers after accepting crucial changes to plans for leaving the European Union. "There is not going to be a second referendum. under any circumstances", the spokesperson told reporters.

May, vulnerable in parliament after losing her party's majority at an ill-judged election previous year, has come under fire from both wings of her party over a hard-won Brexit plan, with one ex-minister calling it the "worst of all worlds".

A Downing Street spokesman said the government would not fight the amendments because it sees them as consistent with the prime minister's plan as set out in a formal white paper last week.

Eurosceptics tabled amendments to the Government's Customs Bill aimed at imposing strict conditions on the Prime Minister after she produced a plan at Chequers that would keep the United Kingdom closely tied to Brussels' rules on goods and food.

The government is thought to have sought an agreement with Brexiter rebels that they would withdraw this amendment on the proviso that the other three be adopted, but that this has been rejected by backbenchers.

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No 10 then argued that that European Union had only ruled out collecting United Kingdom duties and tariffs at its border, and it would be necessary to have other reciprocal financial systems with the European Union to refund businesses in the event that there were differing customs arrangements between Britain and the 27-country bloc.

The prime minister also said that the taxation (cross border trade) bill, which seeks to allow the United Kingdom to implement its own customs regime after Brexit, and a related trade bill on Tuesday, were "an important part of our no-deal preparations" because both were necessary to prepare the United Kingdom for life as an independent trading nation.

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for the second day of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 12, 2018.

It came as a former minister, Justine Greening, became the highest-profile Conservative MP to back the idea of a referendum on the terms of the UK's Brexit deal.

Mrs May faced a potential revolt on the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill, often referred to as the Customs Bill.

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Her Brexit negotiating strategy, which aims for a close relationship with the European Union after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019, was only agreed with her cabinet earlier this month after two years of wrangling.

"The reality is parliament is now stalemated".

Former Cabinet minister Ms Patel, who tabled the amendment calling for reciprocal action on collecting tariffs, said the move was "constructive". She added: "I have always said I'm in this for the long term".

Jacob Rees-Mogg, an arch eurosceptic who proposed the amendments, said he did not expect the bill, or another bill on trade due to be debated on Tuesday, to be blocked outright by the 650-member parliament.

"I wanted the prime minister's Chequers agreement to be a workable compromise", she wrote in The Times.

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