Blow for Theresa May as voters in Tory marginal seats savage Chequers Brexit plan
Theresa May has suffered a fresh blow in her hopes to sell the Government’s Brexit Chequers agreement, after polling found voters in key Conservative seats overwhelmingly reject it.
A survey of 22,000 voters in the Tories' 44 most marginal seats found that three-quarters of people are "dissatisfied" with ministers’ handling of Brexit talks.
Over half of those polled believe the Prime Minister's Chequers plan, to maintain close economic ties with the EU, is "bad" for the country, while just 21% believe it to be "good".
Elsewhere, 45% think the deal would be bad for their family, compared to 19% who say it would be “good”.
The poll, commissioned by Global Britain and shared with the Telegraph, also found that Brexit is seen as more important in the areas studied than the NHS and the economy – with 45% putting Britain’s exit from the EU ahead of 17% on the health service and 7% who say the economy.
Eight in ten of the marginal seats voted Leave during the referendum, according to study, while the seats include eight ministers.
It comes a day after fresh battle lines were drawn within the party, with pro-Remain ex-minister Justine Greening blasting the proposal just hours after leading Brexiteer Boris Johnson mounted a fresh attack on the plans in his Telegraph column.
Ms Greening said the plans were viewed as “worse than the poll tax” by the public, while Mr Johnson accused the Prime Minister of “waving a white flag” in negotiations with Brussels.
MOGG: CHEQUERS 'RUBBISH'
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Tory backbencher and head of the Eurosceptic European Research Group, meanwhile led a delegation of MPs to Brussels yesterday to meet the EU's top Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
Mr Ress-Mogg said both Brexiteers and EU were united in condemnation of the plans, and said he felt more in common with the EU’s negotiator than Mrs May.
“We found ourselves in considerable agreement that Chequers is absolute rubbish and we should chuck it and have a Canada style trade agreement instead," the Brexiteer said.
"Eurosceptics and Monsieur Barnier are in greater agreement than Eurosceptics and the government or Monsieur Barnier and the government. It is very encouraging."
The latest split on the Prime Minister’s Brexit negotiations also comes amid reports that Philip Hammond is preparing an early Budget to avoid clashing with Brexit talks.
Ministers had expected the setpiece to be held towards the end of November, however The Times reports that it could be held as early as the end of the October, as negotiations on Brexit continue.
Downing Street had wanted to strike a Brexit deal at October’s meeting of the European Council.
A Treasury source told the paper that no plans on the timing of the Budget were confirmed as yet however and the budget could be presented as late as December.