Top Tories plot to keep UK in single market if Theresa May's Brexit plan rejected

Posted On: 
18th November 2018

Top Tories are plotting a “fallback plan” to keep the UK in the EU single market if MPs vote down the deal struck by Theresa May, it has been reported.

MPs from across the political divide have condemned Mrs May's deal
Credit: 
PA

Senior figures are in talks with opposition MPs over a Commons amendment that would see the UK remain in the European Economic Area - the so-called Norway option - the Sunday Telegraph says.

It comes as the withdrawal agreement the Prime Minister hammered out with the EU looks increasingly unlikely to pass the so-called “meaningful vote” in parliament in the coming weeks.

Michael Gove 'leading Cabinet fight' to change Theresa May’s Brexit plan

Extending Brexit transition period to 2022 is ‘an option’, says top Cabinet minister

MPs from across the political divide have condemned it, with the Labour party and the DUP - whose 10 MPs prop up the PM in her minority administration - vowing to vote against it.

But influential former ministers such as Nick Boles believe their proposal for a Norway-style model is the only route that could win a majority in parliament, the Sunday Telegraph says.

They believe it could gain support from some 70 pro-EU Labour MPs if they first fail to secure backing for amendments calling for a second EU referendum.

Mr Boles told the paper: “We are in discussion with Labour MPs and also the SNP and Plaid Cymru.”

He said remaining in the EEA would give the UK a platform to influence single market rules, from which an “emergency brake” on free movement could be negotiated.

But the proposal is sure to be met with stiff opposition from pro-Brexit MPs - who see the Norway option as little better than remaining in the EU as a full member.