Buoyant Theresa May seeks Cabinet agreement on Brexit vision
Theresa May – buoyed by finally making “sufficient progress” on Brexit – is to confront Cabinet Brexiteers over their vision for Britain’s departure from the EU.
The Prime Minister will hold a Cabinet meeting next week and another on December 19 to discuss the shape of Britain’s eventual post-exit relationship with the EU.
Allies of the Prime Minister told The Times that Mrs May believes Brexiteers will concede on areas such as regulatory alignment in view of what is necessary for continued access to EU markets.
Mrs May will look to unite her Cabinet ahead of the next stage of negotiations, which will look at Britain's future relationship with the bloc. One senior source told the Telegraph that the “real battle begins now” and that the “heart and soul of Brexit is now at stake”.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, one of the leading Brexiteers, spoke with the Prime Minister after the deal was agreed, and later said: “Yes, great meeting with PM — found her totally determined that ‘full alignment’ means compatibility with taking back control of our money, laws and borders.”
But writing in the Telegraph, Mr Johnson's fellow Vote Leave campaigner, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, warned Mrs May that the British people could vote to change her deal at the next election.
A source close to Chancellor Philip Hammond, a leading voice for maintaining close economic ties with the EU, said: “The idea that there’s a raft of things we’d scrap tomorrow, in a sudden rush of blood, isn’t going to happen.
“We need to make some decisions around alignment, how it is done and in what sectors, and about where we diverge and how.”
Justice Minister Dominic Raab told BBC’s Newsnight there was much yet to be worked out.
He said: “You can call it strategic ambiguity, you can call it constructive ambiguity... what I am admitting to you, very openly, and honestly, is that we have agreed principles, but that the details still need to be ironed out on this very bespoke set of issues around Northern Ireland which can’t be dealt with properly and responsibly outside of the context of the broader negotiation on customs and trade and all of those other things we have said all along.”