Top Tory elections guru Lynton Crosby 'working to kill off Theresa May's Brexit plan'
3 min read
Theresa May is facing fresh pressure over Brexit as it emerged that her former elections guru Sir Lynton Crosby is working with Eurosceptic Tories to kill off her Chequers plan.
Sir Lynton - the political strategist who helped Boris Johnson win two campaigns for the London mayoralty - has reportedly ordered staff at his CTF Partners firm to work with the European Research Group (ERG) of Conservative Brexiteers to undermine Mrs May’s blueprint for Brexit.
A senior Tory told the Sunday Times: "Lynton’s firm is working with the ERG to run this campaign to bring down Chequers.
"It looks like Lynton is hitting back after falling out over the election campaign and is trying to boot out the prime minister. They want to get Boris in."
Mr Crosby spectacularly fell out with Downing Street after the botched 2017 election campaign in which he advised the Prime Minister.
A source told the Mail on Sunday his latest bid was motivated by "revenge".
But allies of the embattled Prime Minister have already hit back at the plan to derail Chequers, which they see as a forerunner for a Boris Johnson coup.
A Tory source told The Mail on Sunday: "Boris hasn’t thought this through. His plan could result in us delaying leaving the EU, or even not leaving at all.
"If that happens, the party membership would never forgive him."
Staff at Sir Lynton's firm are said to be working on an overhaul of the pro-Brexit 'Change Britain' group, and have built links with former Brexit minister Steve Baker - who quit over the Chequers proposals - and Stewart Jackson, former top aide to the ex-Brexit secretary David Davis.
But a source close to Mr Johnson said: "Boris has always backed the aims of Change Britain but he has no role in the organisation."
BOLES: CHEQUERS A HUMILIATION
Mrs May also suffered another blow on Sunday as former minister Nick Boles, who originally backed her Chequers deal to maintain close customs ties with the European Union after Brexit, branded it a "humiliation" and called for a major rethink.
The former Remain supporter wrote in the Sunday Telegraph: "I pay tribute to Theresa May for her sense of duty and her resilience.
"I admire her determination to deliver what a majority of the British people voted for. But I am afraid that her policy has failed and I can no longer support it."
Among Mr Boles' proposals - set out on a new 'Better Brexit' website - are the cancelling of the two-year transition period during which the UK "would be bound by all EU rules but have no vote", in favour of temporary, three-year membership of the European Economic Area (EEA).
But the Prime Minister insisted she would "not be pushed into accepting compromises on the Chequers proposals that are not in our national interest".
In a piece for the Sunday Telegraph, she also dismissed calls for a second referendum to try and break the Brexit impasse, saying such a move would be "a gross betrayal of our democracy".
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe