May 'delays Cabinet talks on trade deal until 2018 over resignation fears'
Theresa May is reportedly delaying a Cabinet debate on a future EU-UK trade deal because she is worried it will spark resignations.
The Sun reports that Downing St insiders are wary of a row over the balance between access to the EU's single market and the role of the European Court of Justice.
Eurosceptics in Cabinet are firmly opposed to any future role for the ECJ, while advocates of a 'soft' Brexit are prepared to make concessions to secure more market access.
“We haven’t grasped the nettle on the trade deal yet, and we really have to soon," a Cabinet minister told the paper.
“Theresa’s fear is the moment we do, half of us walk out. We just don’t know which half will yet.”
The EU has yet to set out its own position on trade, although the 27 other member states have given the go-ahead to preparations for the next phase of negotiations, with the aim of beginning in December.
The European Parliament's chief negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, expressed frustration yesterday when he said the Governmust must "outline, once and for all, what kind of future relationship the country wants".
And he took a swipe at Cabinet Brexiteers, saying: “This may require Theresa May to face down Boris Johnson and others in her own party who refuse to accept the reality of the Brexit they campaigned for”.