British officials devise third option for post-Brexit customs, BBC reports

Theresa May

Theresa May

Ministers have been involved in heated discussions recently as they tried to choose between two earlier models.

The President of the European Council Donald Tusk said that Britain has sounded the "last call" to coordinate their position on Brexit, stating that "severe" problems were solved and the necessary "rapid progress" to reach agreement before the next summit in October.

It comes as Downing Street was reportedly preparing to discuss a third model for post-Brexit trade with the Cabinet in a bid to overcome disagreement on the issue.

This week sees yet another supposedly critical meeting in the continuing saga of the UK's attempt to leave the EU.

Iain Duncan Smith, who was also present, told the BBC's Sunday Politics: "We didn't talk about details, he just simply said we're very pro the idea of a trade arrangement as quickly as possible and the general view was that they could get it done within two years if the British really wanted to do a real push on it". The first provides for customs partnership, which would mean that the United Kingdom applies the European Union tariffs and rules of origin for all goods entering the country destined for the EU.

But Mrs May must sell her plans to her Brexiteer backbenchers too and some are nervous that she is watering down her intentions.

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Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Rees-Mogg warned the PM she was in danger of splitting the party like Sir Robert Peel, who plunged it into the political wilderness for almost three decades following bitter divisions over trade reforms.

"At Chequers, the prime minister must stick to her "no deal is better than a bad deal" mantra, or risk splitting the Conservative Party like Sir Robert Peel", Mr Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of Tory MPs, writes.

Both options have been dismissed by the EU.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, James Brokenshire, the secretary of state for local government and housing, said there were "strong views" on both sides but predicted Friday's away-day would yield a "clear direction" from the UK.

The Communities Secretary said the Government was planning for "all eventualities".

But it is vital that Cabinet ministers do not fall into the trap of believing that what.

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