Theresa May Splits Cabinet To Seek Brexit Solution

Theresa May Splits Cabinet To Seek Brexit Solution

Theresa May Splits Cabinet To Seek Brexit Solution

In a thinly veiled swipe at Mr Johnson, the former attorney general said: 'I feel greater loyalty to the Prime Minister than, apparently, some members of her Cabinet may have'.

News has learned that the cabinet's Brexit subcommittee has formed working groups to look over each of the two proposals for a new customs deal.

With members of the Prime Minister's Brexit "war cabinet" now at loggerheads over the Government's two customs options, Nick Timothy urged Leave-supporting ministers to accept staying within European Union frameworks for longer.

One will consider the Brexiteers' favoured "maximum facilitation" - or "max fac" - solution, based on the use of technology to minimise the need for customs checks once the United Kingdom is outside the EU.

Number 10 insists the idea is not to give each proposal a going over by its opponents (and anyway ministers" views aren't that "binary'), but to match them to relevant departmental responsibilities.

But Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Chancellor Philip Hammond, have not been placed on either "team" to work on the different solutions.

She has even divided her Cabinet into two camps to work on improving the two proposals now on offer to try to make one of them more palatable to the warring factions.

So far, May has little option and no desire to do anything but stick to her well-worn script that Britain will leave the EU's economic single market and customs union. Fox is understood to be immovable over his opposition to the customs partnership, while friends of Davis have suggested he could quit over the issue.

One cabinet minister told the Guardian: "The prime minister wants to find a way through this that keeps the party together".

He also wrote in The Spectator that it is time for the government to end the circular discussions on customs unions.

Its report, "Brexit: food prices and availability" warned that if an agreement could not be negotiated by the time the United Kingdom left the European Union, the increase in tariffs could lead to significant price rises for consumers, while the additional customs workload could choke the UK's ports and airports and significantly disrupt food deliveries.

Ministers failed to reach a decision at a crunch meeting last week.

This has prompted speculation that a transition period could be extended, in part to allow more time for a new customs arrangement.

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