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Theresa May refuses to say when Brexit White Paper will be published amid Cabinet tensions

Liz Bates

2 min read

Theresa May has repeatedly refused to say when the Government will publish a White Paper setting out its Brexit plans amid growing Cabinet tensions on the issue.

Downing Street is said to be at loggerheads with Brexit Secretary David Davis, who is reportedly keen to push ahead with the publication of the document ahead of a crunch EU summit later this month.

But, pressed to name a date on several occasions during Prime Minister's Questions today, Mrs May refused to do so.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ashed whether the document would be released before the EU Withdrawal Bill comes back to the Commons next week.

Mrs May would only confirm that it would be published - but would not say when.

She said: "The Brexit Secretary and I agree that we want to publish a White Paper that goes beyond the speeches and the papers that have been given and published so far, that does go into more details and that ensures that when we publish that White Paper we are able to negotiate with our European Union and European Commission colleagues on the basis that this an ambitious offer from the United Kingdom for an ambitious trade deal and security partnership in the future."

Mr Corbyn hit back: “Next week we’ll be debating the most important piece of legislation for a very long time and we still have not seen the Government’s negotiating position.”

A source close to Mr Davis told The Sun today he was "very bullish" about seeing the plans published before the EU summit, and is "prepared to go to the whole Cabinet with his concerns if he has to".


Meanwhile, a fresh Cabinet row has erupted following reports that Downing Street will tomorrow publish its proposals for a so-called "backstop" deal to prevent a hard Irish border if no agreement can be reached before the UK formally leaves the EU next March.

According to The Times, David Davis and other Brexiteers fear they are being bounced into accepting the contents of the document without having sufficient time to raise any objections.

The latest row piles further pressure on Theresa May ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the so-called Brexit 'war cabinet' of top ministers.  

A spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn said: "It's extremely concerning for the whole country that they are unable to reach agreement among themselves about what their negotiating position is two years after the British people voted to leave the EU."

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