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Brexit - Theresa May challenged to accept a ‘no-deal’ Brexit by Conservative MPs

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The European Research Group (ERG) is mounting a challenge to Theresa May’s ‘Chequers plan’ by producing its own white paper. The Conservative MP Jacob Rees Mogg, the group’s current chairman, is organising the ERG’s own white paper outlining a plan for a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario. Reports suggest that the ERG’s new white paper proposes a Canada style free trade agreement on the condition that the EU retracts its demands regarding the issue of the Irish border.  

The ERG’s paper is due to be released in September, before the Conservative party conference. It is predicted that the paper will have the backing of a number of Conservative MPs, between 60-80, most of whom are members of the ERG. 

The likelihood of a ‘no deal’

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Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was quoted recently as saying, “Everyone needs to prepare for the possibility of a chaotic no-deal Brexit… I think the risk of a no Brexit deal has been increasing recently,”

He highlighted that his government was trying to achieve a deal saying, “We want to safeguard our operational capacity as we leave the EU, and so we have put forward precise, credible proposals that ensure our ability to act is maintained.”

Hunt continued, stating that he needs the EU to make strategic choices, “We are now at the point where the EU also faces strategic choices: with the option to move the negotiations forward and achieve a deal that works in our mutual interests…”

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EU Deputy Chief Negotiator Sabine Weyand commented that “while we as EU negotiators will do our best to reach agreement on an orderly withdrawal including a transition, there is no guarantee we will succeed…. So business needs to prepare for a disorderly Brexit.”

Consequences

The new paper could further highlight the instability of the UK government to Brussels. The worry here is that May does not have the majority support to get approval on her own plans for Brexit. 

In a recently leaked Treasury forecast, it was estimated that a ‘no deal’ Brexit where the UK returned to World Trade Organisation trade rules would reduce the country’s growth by 8% over the next 15 years. 

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