LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May warned her divided party on Sunday that there may be “no Brexit at all” if they wrecked her plan to forge a close relationship with the European Union after leaving the world’s biggest trading bloc.
What do her critics say?
DAVID DAVIS, WHO RESIGNED AS BREXIT SECRETARY ON JULY 8
Quotes from his resignation letter:
“The general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one.”
“I considered it was still possible to deliver on the mandate of the referendum, and on our manifesto commitment to leave the Customs Union and the Single Market. I am afraid that I think the current trend of policy and tactics is making that look less and less likely.”
Writing in the Sunday Times, Davis said May’s plan would expose British manufacturers to damaging EU regulations here
“Be in no doubt: under the government’s proposal our fingers would still be caught in this mangle and the EU would use it ruthlessly to punish us for leaving and handicap our future competitiveness.”
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT
“I would have done it much differently,” he told The Sun in an interview published on Friday. “I actually told Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me.”
“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal,” Trump said of the prospects for a trade deal with the United States.
Later, Trump contradicted those earlier comments which he cast as “fake news” though The Sun posted a recording of the interview, and said he hoped to do a “great” trade deal with the United Kingdom.
May said on Sunday that Trump had advised her earlier to sue the EU.
“He told me I should sue the EU,” May told BBC television. “Sue the EU. Not go into negotiations – sue them.”
STEVE BAKER, WHO RESIGNED AS A JUNIOR MINISTER IN THE BREXIT MINISTRY ON JULY 8
“I acknowledge the Parliamentary opinion and arithmetic which constrain the Government’s freedom of action but I cannot support this policy with the sincerity and resolve which will be necessary.”
Baker told the Telegraph newspaper here that May had presided over a “cloak and dagger” plot to undermine Brexit that would blow apart public trust in democracy.
“An establishment elite who never accepted the fundamental right of the public to choose democratically their institutions are working towards overturning them.”
“The public will know they have been betrayed. Well then what will happen to trust? Trust, I think, in democracy at that point will be blown apart.”
BORIS JOHNSON, WHO RESIGNED AS FOREIGN MINISTER ON JULY 9
Quotes from his resignation letter:
“We are truly headed for the status of colony – and many will struggle to see the economic or political advantages of that particular arrangement.”
The Brexit “dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.”
Since his resignation, Johnson has been silent in public. The Telegraph newspaper said Johnson had re-joined the newspaper as a columnist with effect from Monday.
He is due to give his resignation speech in parliament this week.
JACOB REES-MOGG, SENIOR EUROSCEPTIC CONSERVATIVE LAWMAKER
“I think we can focus on the policy which will have to be brought through parliament and the prime minister will have a choice then: she will have to decide either to change the policy or get it through on the back of Labour Party votes, and that would be a very divisive thing for a leader of the Conservative party to do.
“I’m sure Theresa May doesn’t want to split the Conservative Party and therefore she will find that the inevitable consequence of the parliamentary arithmetic is that she will need to change it to keep the party united.
“If you look at the polling that’s come out over the last few days, the country wants this done properly. It’s not just a few hardline eurosceptics, it’s the nation at large that feels it voted to leave the European Union and it expects to leave the European Union, it doesn’t want another prime ministerial fudge.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER ADVISER TO U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
“Theresa May has got a lot of great qualities – I am not sure if it is the right leader at the right time,” Bannon, Trump’s former strategist and a key player in his 2016 election campaign, was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying.
Asked if now was the moment for Johnson to lead the country, Bannon, who was fired by the White House in August 2017, said: “I believe moments come. It is like Donald Trump… people dismissed him.”
“Now is the moment,” The Telegraph quoted him as saying. “If Boris Johnson looks at this… There comes an inflection point, the Chequers deal was an inflection point, we will have to see what happens.”
JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION LABOUR PARTY
Responding to May’s Brexit plan on July 9:
“We are more than two years on from the referendum: two years of soundbites, indecision and Cabinet infighting, culminating in a series of wasted opportunities.
“If we look at the Prime Minister’s proposals for the long delayed White Paper, we see that this is not the comprehensive plan for jobs in Britain and the economy that the people of this country deserve.
“The agreement contains no plan to protect our service industry and no plan to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland, and also puts forward the idea of ‘regulatory flexibility’, which we all know is code for deregulation of our economy.
“The Chequers agreement now stands as a shattered truce, a sticking plaster over the cavernous cracks in this Government.”
TONY BLAIR, LABOUR PRIME MINISTER FROM 1997 TO 2007
“I fully accept the Prime Minister is putting forward the Government White Paper as a well-intentioned attempt to do Brexit whilst minimizing the economic disruption to Britain.
“But this solution – half in/half out – won’t work, won’t end the argument and will simply mean a confused outcome in which we continue to abide by Europe’s rules whilst losing our say over them. Parliament should reject this solution decisively.”
“We are stuck. In any rational world, and I understand that is a big caveat in today’s politics, this would go back to the people for resolution.”
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Keith Weir