In a sign of the dissatisfaction in Tory ranks, MP Henry Smith announced on Twitter he had refused an invitation to watch England’s World Cup semi-final clash with Croatia at 10 Downing Street because the prime minister “isn’t bringing Brexit home”.
Ross Thomson, who represents Aberdeen South, used a podcast for the Brexit Central website to criticise the plans agreed by Cabinet members at Chequers.
Ben Bradley and Maria Caulfield, who were apparently vice-chairs of the Conservative Party, resigned their posts because of their opposition to Theresa May’s Chequers policy set out last week. May has so far been unable to present a common position to Brussels on what she wants because of deep divisions in her government.
“What I found when I was talking to people on Saturday, I was out canvassing on Saturday, people like the fact that we are delivering on what they voted for”.
The Labour Party has opened its biggest lead over the Conservatives since just after the General Election which took place in June 2017.
Mrs May however appears to have lived to fight another day, with no vote of no confidence tabled by her MPs.
“The government now has got to go back to the drawing board, it has got to reflect on what Brexit actually means”, David Jones, a former Brexit minister, told “Briefings on Brexit.”
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox shook his head and mouth the word No when reporters asked him on his way out of cabinet whether he was about to quit.
He told Sky News he is “100% behind” Mrs May’s plan and is “absolutely not” thinking of resigning.
“I think perhaps we are now entering into that space”, he said. “And sending our best wishes to @England for tomorrow!”
Her spokesman said she had welcomed the new members of her cabinet and they had discussed the publication of a white paper policy document on Britain’s future ties with the European Union and stepping up preparations for any no-deal outcome to the negotiations with Brussels.
“If the United Kingdom is able to relax some of its red lines, then the European Union should be flexible too”, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told a session of the Irish parliament.
The plan also seeks to keep Britain in major EU agencies, including the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Medicines Agency and the police agency Europol.
Officials believe the white paper will help guide negotiations going forward, with the ideas of a common rulebook and free trade area ensuring the border remains frictionless.
The departures, hailed by eurosceptic MPs in the ruling Conservative party, triggered speculation that May could face an imminent leadership contest.
Former leader Lord Howard said a bid to oust the PM would be “extremely foolish and extremely ill-advised”.