Parliament vote to reveal extent of anger over May’s Brexit plan

Theresa May open letter

The government has narrowly avoided a defeat on its Customs Bill after agreeing to Brexiteers' demands to change its wording.

Ms Caulfield warned that May's Brexit proposal would result in a loss of membership for the Conservative Party and would hand support to leftist Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

"You've got the Chequers deal, you've got national suicide - the WTO option, or you've got the status quo", he said.

The amendments to be voted on Monday are unlikely to pass without Labour support, but they represent a show of power by Brexiteer MPs toward the prime minister.

In stormy Commons scenes the former minister Anna Soubry urged Tory colleagues to have a "reality check" on Brexit and how the party is conducting itself.

"I'm sure Theresa May does not want to split the Conservative Party and therefore she will find that the inevitable effect of the parliamentary arithmetic is that she will need to change it (the Brexit policy) to keep the party united", Rees-Mogg said.

Former worldwide development secretary Priti Patel, who is proposing one of four amendments to the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill, told BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour the white paper had "many flaws around our independence and our ability to make free trade agreements".

He told MPs that the issue "has got much more hard since becoming politicised" but was "eminently soluble".

May spent the weekend defending her plan, and did so again in a speech at Farnborough airshow Monday, insisting it would protect trade in goods with the European Union and avoid border checks in Ireland.

"We accepted them because we believe that they are consistent with the White Paper we published last week".

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According to her, there are three options - May's deal, staying in the European Union or a clean break from Europe with no deal.

It was not clear the move would fundamentally change her plans - the changes do little more than to put government policy into law, her spokesman said - but it was a victory of sorts for those lawmakers who say May has betrayed them on Brexit, the biggest shift in British trade and foreign policy for decades.

She joined fellow Tory rebel Phillip Lee, who resigned as a justice minister to oppose the Government on Brexit.

However, after allaying the Euroskeptic wing of her party, May faced renewed criticism from the other side, exposing the deep divisions over the European Union which exist within the Conservatives and have previously brought down Tory governments.

Her office has said there will be no second referendum under any conditions.

May concluded her message: "I say to the British people today: I am not going to Brussels to compromise our national interest; I am going to fight for it".

In an attempt to calm activists' anger, Tory association chairmen are being offered briefings in Downing Street over the detail of Mrs May's plans.

Some in the pro-EU faction have also rejected the plan.

"All of that hinges on that being agreed this autumn and, I think, when it comes to Parliament, I hope and expect that it will be persuasive that what is on offer will be good for the United Kingdom and good for every part of the United Kingdom".

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