Cabinet rallies around May on Chequers plan for Brexit

British Prime Minister Theresa May backed a post Brexit visa system based on skills. EPA

British Prime Minister Theresa May backed a post Brexit visa system based on skills. EPA

The prime minister said the government's White Paper remained the only plan on the table which achieves the goals of frictionless trade and an open border in Ireland.

Prime Minister Theresa May pitched her so-called Chequers Brexit proposal to EU leaders in Austria on Wednesday, but European Council President Donald Tusk and other EU leaders said that Britain needed to rework its plans further.

As ministers gathered at 10 Downing Street on Monday, the prime minister said she remained confident of securing a withdrawal agreement with the European Union, but the government would continue to plan for the possibility of no deal.

The report's author, Alan Manning of the Migration Advisory Committee, briefed the cabinet meeting on Monday on his plan.

Shanker Singham, the author of the report, said that he has been.

Although it is not clear how many MPs are now affiliated to the ERG, 62 MPs signed a letter by the group in February urging the PM to revert to what they say was the vision of Brexit championed in her Lancaster House speech.

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The report was launched yesterday by leading Eurosceptics including David Davis, the former Brexit Secretary, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, and endorsed by Mr Johnson as a "real alternative" to Chequers.

"It is something I will never agree to - indeed, in my judgement it is something no British prime minister would ever agree to", May said.

Mr Rees-Mogg, who leads the Tory backbench European Research Group (ERG), said the Plan A-plus report offered a "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Canada" deal which the United Kingdom should seize.

Downing Street later said the proposals would mean "Northern Ireland effectively remaining in parts of the single market and customs union". They also said there should be no preferential treatment for workers from the EU.

He said the prize of a more prosperous future for Britain came only from it having an independent trade and regulation policy.

"And one of the things that does is give rise to extremism and fringe politics and all the anti-elitism which we're seeing fuelling populist movements across continental Europe, is this idea that when the people have their say, they're sent back to the drawing board because the elite in Europe don't like the answer".

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