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Michael Gove ‘physically ripped up’ Theresa May’s customs plan

2 min read

Michael Gove physically ripped up Theresa May’s preferred customs plan with the European Union, it has been reported.

The Sun reports that the Environment Secretary tore a document outlining the Prime Minister’s customs partnership proposal in half during a Cabinet working group on Wednesday this week.

Ministers have been thrashing out a solution to the UK’s future customs arrangement ahead of a crunch summit at Chequers to finally come to an agreement on the Britain’s future relationship with Brussels.

According to Sun columnist, James Forsyth, a summary document of the Cabinet working group’s discussions downplayed his opposition to the customs partnership and suggested it had his backing.

Mr Gove then apparently tore up the document in front of officials “in a flash of anger”. The customs partnership partnership proposal would see the UK collect tarrifs on the EU's behalf.

It comes as PoliticsHome reported that ministers will not be allowed to leave next week’s Chequers meeting without coming to an agreement on Brexit.

PoliticsHome understands that the crunch get-together will begin at 10.30am next Friday - and could still be going on into the early hours of Saturday morning.

However, because there are not enough beds at the Prime Minister's official residence, there is no prospect of them being able to sleep during their lengthy deliberations.

One Downing Street source said: "Pyjamas will not be required - it will be normal business attire."

A Number 10 insider said it was "possible" the meeting could go overnight, but another source insisted that did not mean those attending will be allowed to go to sleep.

"They need to agree because it needs agreeing," the source said. "If it runs late into the night they'll have to keep talking because there aren't enough beds."

One Cabinet member told PoliticsHome hopes were not high that any agreement will be reached.

They said: "There can only be two outcomes - another fudge or a bust-up."

Deep splits still remain between Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson and David Davis, and pro-EU Tories including Philip Hammond and Greg Clark on the UK's future customs arrangements with the block.

Mrs May's 11-strong Brexit sub-committee has failed to reach an agreement, as have two working groups set up specifically to thrash out a customs position.

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