Theresa May’s attempt to keep Britain partially in the EU’s single market has been rejected by Leavers in her Cabinet and described as a ‘plot to frustrate Brexit’. The plan, which was cooked up by PM’s top EU advisor, was supposed to work as a compromise between the Leavers and the former Remainers lead by Chancellor Philip Hammond.However, the Leavers rejected the compromise, claiming that it would still leave Britain at mercy of new EU rules.The proposal was drafted by Theresa May’s top EU advisor Oliver Robbins and submitted to the Brexit Committee in Thursday’s crunch meeting.It suggested that Britain would continue operating close to EU rules on hard goods and products such as cars and machines, according to The Sun.The plan would keep Britain well away from EU rules on services sector but would also help to protect jobs and keep trade flowing freely however it failed to sway the committee.A senior Tory MP briefed on the Cabinet committee’s discussion told The Sun: ‘Fox, Gove and Boris have made it clear they will not accept single market rules, because it means being dictated to by Brussels forever.’It feels very much like a Treasury plot to frustrate Brexit’.Theresa May had issued a plea for ministers to be ‘bold’ as her Brexit war Cabinet failed to hammer out a strategy for negotiations with EU.The Prime Minister urged her senior team to show ‘ambition’ during Thursday’s two-hour meeting.But the deadlock between Remain and Brexiteer factions has not been broken with hopes now being placed in a Cabinet ‘away day’ at her Chequers country residence later this month.The Cabinet subcommittee made up of Mrs May and her top ministers including Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove discussed the Ireland issue on Wednesday afternoon.
On Thursday night, a Number 10 source said: ‘The PM told the Brexit Cabinet that the Government had to be ambitious in deal we seek.‘She said her starting point was to aim for something that hadn’t been done before in order to come to a new relationship that will last a generation or more.’Her approach is to seek a deal that is bold, in the best interests of UK and that will carry widespread support.’The committee deadlock was followed by more heated words between Brexit Secretary David Davis and Michel Barnier.The Brexit Secretary blasted the ‘fundamental contradiction’ in Mr Barnier’s claims to both want an amicable transition and strong powers for EU to punish Britain.Mr Barnier enraged the British negotiators earlier by threatening to call off the planned Brexit transition period if UK quits the EU customs union.In response, Mr Davis told ‘Given the intense work that has taken place this week it is surprising to hear that Michel Barnier is unclear on the UK’s position in relation to the implementation period.’As I set out in a speech two weeks ago, we are seeking a time-limited period that maintains access to each other’s markets on existing terms.‘However for any such period to work both sides will need a way to resolve disputes in unlikely event that they occur.‘But there is a fundamental contradiction in the approach the Commission is taking. Today they acknowledged that a way to resolve disputes and infringements is needed.’Yet at the same time they dismissed the UK’s push for reasonable safeguards to ensure our interests are protected. It is not possible to have it both ways.’Mr Barnier’s intervention came after Theresa May confirmed that Britain will not be in any form of customs union with bloc after Brexit.But Mr Barnier insisted the UK had already committed to a soft border between Northern Ireland and the Republic in the divorce agreementIn what amounted to an ultimatum, he added: ‘It is important to tell the truth. A UK decision to leave the single market and to leave the customs union would make border checks unavoidable.’