Brexit supporters have expressed serious concerns over Theresa May’s blueprint for UK-Brussels relations, with leading eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg asserting the document “recreates the worst aspects of the EU British people voted to leave”.
Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage warned the Prime Minister will “destroy the Conservative Party” if she remains leader, adding that May and her Cabinet “grossly underestimate how reviled” their plans for a super-soft Brexit are with the public.
The long-awaited white paper does not respect the referendum vote, according to European Research Group chair Rees-Mogg, who in a statement described the plans as “the greatest vassalage since King John paid homage to Phillip II at Le Goulet in 1200.”
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister was accused by Leave Means Leave of having “completely ignored the concerns raised at Chequers” over her super-soft Brexit proposals, despite “resignation after resignation, humiliating polls and a damning public indictment”.
The pro-sovereignty campaign, which advocates Britain exit the Single Market and its Free Movement regime cleanly, said in a statement: “This white paper is a complete capitulation and our government has become a national embarrassment.
“The EU is in an extremely strong negotiating position and we will end up, quite unbelievably, with an even worse deal than that set out in this white paper.”
Looking at the reception to May’s paper from the Tory leader’s own party, the Guardian reported that “almost all the reaction from Conservative MPs was either sceptical, or downright hostile”, noting particular “alarm” being expressed over the role that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) looks set to continue playing in Britain’s affairs post-Brexit.
The Brexit vision set out at Chequers prompted a number of ministers to resign, including foreign secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit secretary David Davis, who said: “We’re giving too much away too easily, and that’s a dangerous strategy at this time.”
Describing plans to keep Britain chained to Brussels as a “betrayal” earlier this week, Farage announced that he plans to return to the helm of UKIP unless Brexit is “back on track” by March 2019.
The white paper has received welcome in some quarters, however, with director of the liberal, George Soros-funded Open Europe think tank Henry Newman penning an open letter pleading with Brussels to take seriously the “fair and reasonable” proposals.