Cabinet rallies around May on Chequers plan for Brexit

UK Prime Minister Theresa May

UK Prime Minister Theresa May

As ministers gathered at 10 Downing Street the prime minister said she remained confident of securing a withdrawal agreement with the EU.

The cabinet remains fully behind Theresa May's Brexit policy in the face of growing calls within her party to change direction, No 10 has insisted.

With a bloc of Tory Brexiteers also committed to opposing the plan, and a number of pro-EU MPs also highly critical, it is increasingly hard to see how she can muster the numbers to get it through Parliament, even it she can get an agreement with the EU.

Senior Conservative Brexiteers are piling pressure on her to ditch the proposal in favour of a Canada-style deal, as advised by the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA).

Although it is not clear how many MPs are now affiliated to the ERG, 62 MPs signed a letter by the group in February urging the PM to revert to what they say was the vision of Brexit championed in her Lancaster House speech.

Mr Rees-Mogg, who leads the influential Tory backbench European Research Group (ERG), said the Plan A-plus report offered a "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Canada" deal which the United Kingdom should seize.

The prime minister is expected to say: "Whatever your business, investing in a post-Brexit Britain will give you the lowest rate of corporation tax in the G20".

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He added: 'We're now, bluntly, in a cul-de-sac.' But Confederation of British Industry director Carolyn Fairburn warned a Canada-style deal would create friction at borders, would not solve the Irish border and would damage supply chains affecting thousands of jobs.

The meeting will take place just hours after the high-profile launch of an alternative plan for leaving the European Union by the free market Institute of Economic Affairs think tank with the backing of former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and former Brexit secretary David Davis.

Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered her ministers to hold their nerve on Brexit.

"As a result, the UK's goods trade will over time be less closely integrated economically with the European Union than it is now".

"And if this government can't deliver, then I simply say to Theresa May the best way to settle this is by having a general election", he said.

She added that the government would still continue to prepare for the possibility of "no-deal" Brexit.

"These blips in the world, they're blown a little bit out of proportion, but we double down, we don't throw our toys out the pram, hold our nerve, keep our cool", Raab said.

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